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Webster Family Li^^arv of VAternary Medicine 
Cumming^ f^^^hiol of Votennary mmm at 
Tufts Univ^-vj 
200 WnStboro Road 









With 31 Illustrations 
on art paper 





BEFORE the war, while turning over the closely-filled 
pages of my memory, I came across some pigeon-holes 
containing packets tied up with ribbons of pink, blue, 
and black ; they led me to some photograph-albums and scrap- 
books redolent of things and people of yesterday and long 
ago. There I found a number of what in pre-war days we 
would have called the " sporting parson," and it occurred to 
me what a wrong impression many folk had of them. This 
decided me to write a book dealing with the lives of a few. 

There are many more I should like to write about, but want 
of space forbids. 

I think a certain duty rests upon each successive generation 
to pass on to the next as faithful a record as possible of the men 
and women who have left pleasant echoes in the valleys where 
they have wandered. 

My critics may say I have met some sublime specimens 
amongst my parsons, and that I am a hero -worshipper. I 
think I have met some sublime specimens, and that to be a 
hero-worshipper is not a thing to be despised, for who can say 
that it may not lead us to become heroes and heroines our- 
selves ? 

It has become the fashion to abuse the sporting parson, in 
consequence of a few having been a disgrace to their cloth, and 
they have brought the rest into disrepute. But who are we 
that we should judge human beings from a poUceman's point of 
view ? Will the opinion of those who are narrow-minded and 
can only think in kindergarten language or worn-out symbols 
help us in our study of the deep, dark science of man ? Life 

vi. Preface 

is a religious thing or it is not life at all. I firmly believe that 
religion is inherent in every human being. 

Perhaps it will be well to analyse briefly what we mean 
when we speak of the sporting parson. Certainly not the old 
exploded idea of the men who slapped their thighs, drank and 
swore ; but rather the clean-minded, nature-loving, open-air- 
loving clerics who as a rule are not blessed with a super-abund- 
ance of this world's good things, but who seek recreation and 
health once or perhaps twice a week by following hounds, 
shooting, fishing — possibly ski-ing, if they can go abroad for a 
little holiday — or in healtliful games. 

The element of sport is alive in the hearts of most men 
worthy of the name, and it is that which makes them brave. 
The same instinct that made them seek sport in pre-war days 
made them anxious to go to the front and share the 
dangers and hardships of the troops, while hoping to be of some 
use and comfort to them. It is the sporting instinct that 
makes men straight and true. When we hear a man called a 
" Real Sportsman " we at once picture to ourselves an in- 
dividual who under all circumstances can be trusted to play 
the game fairly and squarely. 

Nearly all the soldiers I have spoken to about the army 
chaplains, have as terms of highest praise, said, "He is a real 
sportsman." One man whom I asked if he had found a chaplain 
who was a help and comfort to him replied, " Yes ! I like them 
all— at least, the most of them," and he tried to explain to me 
how, when going into action, knowing well they were standing 
on the borders of the Great Beyond, they could speak to a 
chaplain of things they would not hke to say to anyone else, 
things that would seem " sloppy-like " ; and he felt the chaplains 
could be trusted when they were " sports " to carry out faith- 
fully their wishes, and be kind to those who would grieve if 
Ihey were killed. 

The terrible realities of to-day leave little room or inclination 

Preface vii. 

for sport or recreation, and I doubt if ever again we shall see 
the old stamp of sporting parson. All the more reason that we 
should not forget them. 

As children we love to be told stories, and the love clings to 
us through life ; perhaps there may be people who will care to 
read of the parsons in this book, whose lives, many of them, have 
been unsung too long. There are a few who do not appeal to 
us, but I have taken them as they came to my mind, good, bad, 
and indifferent : happily the good predominate. 

To be a successful parson, clergyman, priest, or whatever we 
call them, requires a man to have all the gifts of the gods rolled 
into one. 

Far be it from me to suggest it is only among the sporting 
parsons that good and great men are to be found, for it has been 
my privilege to know many — Father Staunton and Cardinal 
Manning, for example. 

After all, we are only variations of one single theme. 




I. THE REV. J. W. ADAMS, V.C. - - - 1 



AND L. B. MORRIS - - - - 27 


VI. THE REV. E. BURNABY - - - - 62 

VII. THE REV. C. KINGSLEY - - - - 75 


IX. THE REV. DEAN HOLE - - - - 100 


J. MICHELL, M.F.H. - . . _ 1^2 

BUTLER " - - . . . 127 

XII. THE REV. E. A. ALDRIDGE - _ . 137 

XIII. THE REV. WYER HONEY, M.H. - - - 146 

XIV. THE REV. S. D. LOCKWOOD - - - 158 

XVI. THE REV. W. BENTON - - - . 201 

AND P. BERESFORD, D.S.O. - - - 232 

XVIII. FATHER BRINDLE, D.S.O. - - - - 248 


XX. FATHER FINN - - . _ . 271 


AND W. F. ADDISON, V.C. - - . 294 




Facing page 

„ „ J. W. ADAMS, V.C. - - - - - - 12 

,, ,, GEORGE HUSTLER, M.F.H. - - - - - 13 



THE REV. CECIL LEGARD - - - - - - -32 


THE REV. JACK RUSSELL, M.F.H. , M.O.H. - - - - - 46 


sermons) - - - - - - -47 

THE REV. J. W. KING, OWNER OF " APOLOGY " - - - - 60 






THE REV. E. CHARD ("THE BISHOP ") . . . - . 114 

„ „ J. MICHELL ....... 115 


,, ,, BILLY BUTLER ...... I35 

,, „ E. A. ALDRIDGE, M.D., F.R.G.S., IN HIS MANDARIN ROBE - - 144 


,, ,, S. LOCKWOOD ....... 166 

„ „ RUPERT INGLIS ---.... 167 

„ ,, AND HON. MAURICE PEEL, M.C. - - - - . 234 

LT.-COL. P. W. BERESFORD, D.S.O. ..... 235 



AUSTRALIAN TROOPS - - - - - -2 59 


THE GREAT WAR -...--. 278 


„ ,, H. A. HALL ....... 296 

„ ,, W. F. ADDISON, V.C. ...... 297 



Chapter I 

An Ancient Institution — The Prodigal Son in Pink — Sir Tatton Sykes Views Holy 
Land Pictures — Hunting Attire in 1762 — Parishioners'Views of their Parson — 
The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.C., in India — On the March from Cabul to Candahar 
— Hunt Hounds — Wins the V.C. — An Eye-witness Tellsthe Story — Some 1875 
V.C.'s — Ivan Heald in the Evacuation of the Dardanelles — The Padre in a 
Smallpox Camp — An Uncomfortable Contretemps — A Run-away Drive — The 
Padre's Preaching — He Returns to England — His Death — Lord Roberts 
Erects a Memorial — The Padre's Charities. 

THE hunting parson is as old an institution as the Church 
itself. In that book of books, the Bible, we read that 
Nimrod, the hunter, became a mighty one of the 

I forget who the artist was who represented the Prodigal 
Son in pink, breeches and boots, all complete. Perhaps it was 
the same gentleman who once painted a catch of fish spread 
out on the shore freshly unloaded from a fisherman's boat. It 
represented a great day's sport, there being one each of a 
variety of species, including a lobster of the roseate hue they 
acquire after being introduced to the boiling-pot. 

When the late Sir Tatton Sykes was once being shown 
some beautiful pictures of the Holy Land, and the artist was 
breathlessly awaiting some words of appreciation of his wonder- 
ful rendering of the haze peculiar to certain parts of Egypt, the 
marvellous blending of colour in the sunsets, and so forth, Sir 
Tatton remarked, " Must be a queer country to get across, very 

The olden-day monks, who were supposed to be the pioneers 
of civilisation and easy virtues, were huntsmen — or perhaps I 


2 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

should say sportsmen. They were the masters of hounds, 
keeping huntsmen, horses, and hounds, falconers also ; but I 
imagine with them it was more with an eye to the pot than for 
the sport. 

It must have been a relief in the gone-by days to see the 
sombre clerical attire of black coat and waistcoat amongst the 
gaudy garments worn as late as 1762, when it was correct to 
wear for hare-hunting a blue frock-coat, scarlet velvet cape, and 
a scarlet flannel waistcoat made to wrap over, or, in other words, 
double-breasted. Poor souls, they were plucky ! For fox- 
hunting, a green coat, accompanied by a grass-green velvet cape 
and waistcoat, was considered proper and dignified. This was 
rather reversing the present-day style, where green is the 
accepted harrier colour, and pink for fox-hunting. 

There must have been straight runs in those days ; the 
wonder is that fox, hare, or hounds ever stopped running — ^they 
must have been so frightened. 

A good deal has been written about a few well-known 
hunting parsons, but there are others, many of whom I have 
had the pleasure of knowing, of whom no scribe has written, 
and whose memory should be cherished for ever. 

There is always a certain amount of prejudice against 
sporting parsons. I wonder why ? It seems so narrow, petty, 
and short-sighted. One might almost imagine no religion, no 
example was needed outside the four walls of the church. 
Besides, why must a man cease to be human the moment he 
becomes a parson ? Why are they to be allowed no pet weak- 
ness or recreation that makes life possible ? 

I have tried to gather from grumblers what they consider 
suitable and befitting a parson. It runs much in this 
fashion : 

If the individual has a princely living, worth £80 or £100 a 
year, he must do no work to augment his income, or he is 
neglecting his parish and is a money-grabber. 

If he stays at home and improves his mind, he is lazy and 
idle ; why does he not work and visit his parishioners ? — so 
that they may grumble and say he always turns up at their 
dinner-time — that repast being generally a movable one to suit 
the work of the family. Some may even say their house is their 
castle just as much as it is to the gentry, and they don't see 

The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.C. 3 

what the parson wants, coming poking round. I have many 
times heard these remarks made. 

The parson must not hunt on foot or mounted ; that is 
considered unbecoming. No, he must sit at home doing 
nothing perhaps, and wait for some obhging person to die and 
provide him with suitable work in burying him. It is rather 
an impossible situation. Parishioners often look upon their 
pastor as neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring, but 
simply as a relieving officer, there for nothing else, and no 
thanks required. 

I think the sporting parson was brought into disrepute by a 
few who occasionally forgot their calling, and were lacking in 
reverence and the proper performance of their duties — 
the deserved anathema of the few descending upon the 

Turning over the leaves of an old album a short time ago, 
looking at the faces of those who had crossed my path and 
those who had travelled with me, amongst my many good 
friends and true I find sporting parsons are fairly well 

As I made a reflective study of each face I came to the 
happy conclusion, remembering those lives as I have known 
them, that they were good men — lovable men, many of them, 
with clean hearts and minds and a consuming charity ; nothing 
mean, narrow, or unkind about them, their only fault being that 
sometimes their hearts were larger than their purses. 

People are familiar enough with the name of Parson Jack 
Russell of west country sporting fame, of whom I shall write 
later, but comparatively few have heard of the Rev. J. W. 
Adams, V.C, Army Chaplain. There was no cleric better 
known or better liked in India than the gaunt V.C. Padre who 
was so human, sympathetic, truly heroic, and a great sportsman. 
No social function was complete without him in stations 
where he was officiating ; he was wanted because he held 
the affections of all without cant, or " pie jaw," as the school- 
boys call it. The Tommies adored him in a way they never 
care for anyone who has not shared hard times and dangers 
with them, taking the rough with the smooth, offering a helping 
hand to all. Indeed, he was a great and good man grown old 
with other people's sorrows. 

4 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Mr. Adams accompanied Lord Roberts (then Sir Frederick) 
on the celebrated march from Cabul to Candahar during the 
Afghan war. 

It was while the troops were in Peshawar awaiting events 
that the Padre collected a few hounds, making a scratch pack 
for the amusement of the officers, men, and incidentally himself, 
being a great believer in occupation and sport as an antidote to 
the mischief Satan is supposed to find for idle hands to do. 
Many times I have listened to stories of the Padre's gallantry 
which everyone loved to tell, and I w&s always glad to hear, from 
the lips of soldiers ill in hospital — from his friends during our 
early morning hunts when waiting for it to be light enough for 
hounds to draw. 

From the General to the drummer-boy, all were proud of 
that day, December 11th, 1879, when the brave sky-pilot, the 
much loved Padre, won that simple Maltese Cross of bronze 
bearing the thrilling inscription, " For Valour." 

This is how the story was told to me by a friend in the 9th 
Lancers, who was an eye-witness. 

" The 9th Lancers had repeatedly charged the Afghans who 
were swarming round our guns. 

" After one charge the Padre saw a young Lancer dis- 
mounted and badly wounded, struggling to regain the regiment, 
but his strength failed and he fell. Mr. Adams jumped off his 
horse and rescued the lad under a heavy fire, and from amongst 
many wounded Afghans who slashed at him as he passed. 

" It was difficult work carrying the helpless trooper across 
the broken ground strewn with dead and dying, but he got his 
burden safely to an ambulance at last. 

" Not content with this, he did another fine thing soon 
afterwards, when some of the 9th Lancers were in difficulties 
while crossing a deep watercourse. Two of them were drowning 
with their horses on top of them while still in contact with the 
enemy, who kept up an accurate and galling fire. Again the 
Padre went to the rescue, scrambling down the steep, dangerous 
bank, seized one man, and after some struggling freed him from 
his horse and brought him to land ; then almost in despair of 
saving the other, started off again to see what could be done. 
Here again, thanks to his pluck and great strength, he was 

The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.C. 5 

All who have spoken to me of that stirring time have 
said, " The Padre was as cool as a cucumber the whole 

For a shepherd to save three out of his flock in one day was 
at that time a record anyone might be proud of, especially 
when we remember he carried no weapon for self-defence — not 
even a crook. . . . And thus he earned his V.C. 

Until this great war I think Mr. Adams was the only clergy- 
man with the Victoria Cross, that simple -looking and coveted 
little medal first bestowed upon soldiers after the Crimea, when 
on June 26th, 1857, in Hyde Park, Queen Victoria, in the 
presence of her husband and Lord Colin Campbell, decorated 
sixty -two heroes with the Cross. The ceremony was over in 
ten minutes ! 

How strange are the workings of men's minds, that a 
ceremony taking only a few short moments and the bestowal 
of a modest small bronze medal " For Valour " should be so 
prized, so longed for, with a longing almost beyond words to 
describe ; should so fill them with pride, so recompense them for 
lost health, lost limbs, and without doubt lost youth. 

Men may be worn out in victory as well as in defeat. Who 
could ever feel young again after the hardships they had endured, 
and the scenes they had witnessed ? 

But men think whole worlds of that bit of red ribbon on 
their breasts that will hve with them all their lives, will ensure 
them a welcome anywhere. One hero lately expressed himself 
thus to me, " With my V.C. I can just spit anywhere I like." 
It was a trifle crude, but I know what he meant. 

In the hearts of those decorated and receiving the thanks of 
their Queen after the Crimea, must have been the tender 
memory of others who had been just as brave, but who could 
never receive any thanks or medal. 

The following verses, written by Mr. Ivan Heald, must have 
exactly described their feelings. He wrote them when evacuat- 
ing the Dardanelles, and when I remember the naturally 
joyous-hearted writer, who was always happy, always cheery, 
and enjoyed every moment of his life when I knew him in pre- 
war days, the lines bring home eloquently what men feel when 
leaving their pals behind. The verses will find an echo in many 
hearts to-day. 

sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 


So quietly we left our trench 
That night, yet this I know — 
As we stole down to Sedd-el-Bahr 
Our dead mates heard us go. 

As I came down the Boyan Nord 
A dead hand touched my sleeve, 
A dead hand from the parapet 
Reached out and plucked my sleeve. 

"Oil, what is toward, O mate o' mine. 

That ye pass with muffled tread, 

And there comes no guard for the firing-trench. 

The trench won by your dead ? " 

The dawn was springing on the hills, 
'Twas time to put to sea, 
But all along the Boyan Nord, 
A dead voice followed me. 

" Oh, little I thought," a voice did say, 
" That ever a lad of Tyne 
Would leave me lone in the cold trench side. 
And him a mate of mine." 

We sailed away from Sedd-el-Bahr, 
We are sailing home on leave. 
But this I know — through all the years 
Dead hands will pluck my sleeve. 

Mr. Heald lost his life later in France. 

I suppose the only judgment that interests the human mind 
is a judgment of valuation ; logic plays little part in it. It is 
the feeling of valuation that surrounds the V.C. with its 

At any rate, I know the dear Padre was very proud of his, 
and was full of tenderness for the memory of the many who were 
gone, who he said, in his modesty, deserved it so much more 
than he did. 

Bravery of another kind, little known but none the less 
splendid, I must recount ; namely, his work in the smallpox 
camp, where he spent days and nights trying to cheer, amuse, 
and comfort the sufferers. To those who do not know the 
horrors of smallpox as it is known in the East this may not 
sound very grand, but those who do will realise what this man 

The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.C. 7 

did, who was obliged at intervals to leave the tents to be prac- 
tically ill, and then returned to his splendid self-imposed task. 

I once asked him how he accounted for his never being 
attacked by this most contagious disease, the horrors of which 
the ordinary British reader has little idea. 

He told me he attributed his escape to having been vac- 
cinated every seven years, and that on principle he always 
drank a glass of sherry before entering the camp, as he believed 
it was a help in warding off the deadly nausea which is bound to 
attack those in close touch with the bad cases. He avoided as 
much as possible entering the tents when tired and run down, 
as he wished to prolong his services in the hope of being some 
comfort to the suffering when no one else could go near, and the 
glass of sherry was his only precaution, beyond vaccination. 

The Padre once gave me an account of some of his en- 
deavours during Christmas in the smallpox camp, to entertain 
the patients well enough to be amused. It was very funny to 
anyone knowing him, for he was a very dignified, refined man 
who did not indulge in many words, and one of his efforts 
had been to sing a comic song in character. As far as I could 
gather from the account, the screamingly funny part consisted 
in his utter failure, which amused his audience much more than 
if he had succeeded brilliantly. 

Padre Adams could never be induced to speak of the day 
when he three times over won the Victoria Cross ; but he told 
me of a humiliating experience of his when one evening 
burying many victims of smallpox and cholera. 

The graves were dug and ready in melancholy rows, the 
Padre standing amongst them ready to read the — to many — 
beautiful and comforting service. As he stepped back to allow 
a body to be lowered he fell into the open grave behind him, 
his book shutting up over his face as he disappeared. 

Help being at hand, he was quickly hauled up again ; he 
emerged ruffled and dirty, feeling keenly his undignified and 
unseemly contretemps. He quickly scrutinised the faces of the 
firing party to see if anyone dared to laugh, being quite pre- 
pared to be exceedingly annoyed with anyone who did so ; but 
all stood like statues, not a muscle moved on any face ; all looked 
straight over his head without even a twinkle of an eye. I 
think they deserved a medal. 

8 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

It must have been very distressing to the Padre to come up 
crumpled and dirty, for one of his pecuharities was, no matter 
what he had been doing he was always clean and tidy, with a 
well-groomed appearance, being a firm believer that self-respect 
improves and creates respect in other people ; and there is no 
doubt the world is apt to take us at our valuation. 

Many hunts have I had after jackal in India with the Padre. 
Not being a rich man, he could not keep many horses, but was 
never short of a mount, as he had good hands, endless patience, 
and a strong seat. Therefore, whenever anyone had an awkward 
beast it was handed over to Mr. Adams for a time, to teach it 
better manners. I have often seen him struggling with the 
utmost patience in a far-off corner when out hunting on some 
bad-tempered brute, not daring to come near the rest of the 
field for fear of causing trouble. 

Most of us had tiresome mounts at one time and another, 
which is not surprising considering they were often purchased 
quite unbroken from dealers in the bazaars, and we had to do 
the breaking ourselves ; once or twice they broke us instead. 

I remember Mr. Adams coming to my assistance once on the 
Lucknow race-course, when a pair of refractory horses refused 
to take us home or to allow anybody else to go home either, as 
they had jibbed themselves effectually across the main exit. 

Our coachman tried endearing epithets and chirruping s in 
Hindustani ; also terms, I have been given to understand, 
which were not endearing or even polite. The whip was tried, 
only making matters worse, as portions of harness began to fly, 
and we crashed into the General's carriage just behind, who was 
waiting, not altogether patiently, until we allowed him to 

Seeing what trouble we were in, Mr. Adams made a bee-line 
through the crowd, and when I had explained matters he 
quickly climbed on to the box (for it was our state high-day -and- 
holiday coach) and gently took the reins from our Jehu, telling 
him to descend and push behind when he gave the order. 

For a moment or two the Padre sat perfectly still on the box, 
leaving the horses' heads quite alone, allowing them to think 
the show was over ; when, just as they were settling down for 
forty winks, with a masterly shake of the reins and twist of the 
wrist his determination was conveyed to our steeds, who, com- 

The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.G. 9 

pletely taken by surprise, set off at a mad gallop through the 
gates, round a sharp corner into the Mall, leaving our coachman, 
and many willing helpers who were putting their shoulders to 
the wheel, on their faces in the dust, owing to our sudden, 
violent start when they were pushing with all their might. 

We continued our mad career full gallop, as if the horses 
were possessed, until, with consummate skill, we were swished 
round the entrance to our bungalow and pulled up with great 
eclat at the verandah which answered for a front door. 

As far as we could ascertain at the moment, we were none 
the worse for our experience, but we were a little dazed. 

After a moment or two's pause to see if all was really over, 
we recovered our breath and looked up at the Padre, who at 
the same moment turned round to see how it fared with us. 
Then the absurdity of the situation was too much for us, and 
while the horses hung their heads and trembled, we were con- 
vulsed with laughter ; the Padre always had a keen sense of 
the ludicrous, and we certainly made a curious picture. He was 
sitting on the box far above us, a rein still twisted round each 
hand, his feet firmly planted, thereby helping him to remain on 
the box and get some purchase, his clerical hat well jammed 
down over his eyes, while we (a friend staying with me and 
myself) were mixed up amongst dust-cloaks, cushions, and the 
contents of the luncheon-basket — sandwiches that had lost 
their outsides, others that had lost their insides — in the most 
impartial manner ; a syphon of soda-water standing on its 
head which had been hurled at us out of the hamper as we 
" hurrushed " round a corner, and which in our endeavours to 
remain inside the carriage we had trodden on, sending the 
contents all over our — feet, shall I say ? 

Before we had extricated ourselves — it took some time, we 
were so weak with laughter and our experience- -we heard more 
furious galloping, and turned our heads to see who else were 
enjoying themselves ; but it was only my lord and master — who 
had been riding at the meeting and just heard we were last seen 
in a cloud of dust with the horses running away — coming to see 
what had really happened. 

He congratulated Mr. Adams on his feat, it being no easy 
task to steer a couple of run-away horses down the Mall crowded 
with carriages, horses being ridden and led, natives on foot, 

10 sportsmen Parsons tn Peace and War 

camels mounted by native orderlies, and all the usual race- 
meeting accompaniments. 

It was surprising that we killed nobody. A few people were 
hurt by falling over one another in their endeavours to get out 
of the way, and one horse that was being led, when we ajj- 
proached, let fly with his heels, catching a box balanced on the 
head of a " box-waller " or travelling merchant, throwing him 
to the ground with some violence. 

For a time he declared his back was broken, and never more 
would he be able to support his grandmother, great-great- 
grandmother, wife, and many brothers, and we must pay 
accordingly. Finding we were not as credulous or as sym- 
pathetic as he had hoped we might be, he changed his damage 
to a broken neck, for which he wanted smaller recompense. 
Only a trifle for his neck. 

My memory travels back to other days, from the ridiculous 
to the sublime, to the English church in the Lucknow Canton- 
ment, the Padre standing in the pulpit with his Victoria Cross 
and medals showing up on his white surplice as he preached to 
his large congregation, composed of the majority of the English 
people in the station. It was an impressive scene : the crowds 
of soldiers in their different uniforms, the beautiful singing of 
the choir composed entirely of soldiers, the hymns sung so 
heartily and yet so tenderly. I feel as if I can hear them now 
singing softly : 

" Faith of our fathers, Holy Faith, 
We will be true to thee till death," 

It is a pleasant memory. I like remembering this good man 
surrounded by those who loved him because he was brave, 
tender, and true, ready at all times to give away half of what 
he possessed, or even more, and anxious to share both the 
sorrows and joys of his flock. 

He was not a great preacher, for at no time had he a 
great command of language, and was certainly not at his best 
in the pulpit, where he had a curious irritating cough which 
troubled him at no other time ; but he was a fine example of a 
good man leading a grand life which was worth more than many 

I have many times wished he could have given expression to 

The Rev. J. W. Adams, V.G. ii 

his thoughts and the findings of his heart ; he would then have 
swept all before him. 

Most of us had a very warm corner in our hearts for " Our 
fighting parson," as the soldiers called him, and he saved many 
a soul from despair. It was not so much what he said as what 
he did. Can anyone doubt that this sporting parson was 
faithful, and in the fullest sense of the words carrying out his 
Master's orders ? 

Would that there were more like him ! I have met many 
parsons, and not a few have mistaken want of tact for plain- 
spoken righteousness, thereby driving people from the fold ; yet 
they go happily on their way, tripping themselves up and 
others with them over their own red tape. The pity of it, 
when many are sincerely good men acting according to their 
lights and filled with fervour for the Cause. 

The soldiers admired Mr. Adams's strength and activity ; 
he was a very spare man and as active as a cat. 

Peshawar was his favourite station in India ; he had been 
Chaplain there three times, the first being in 1868, when he 
received the thanks of the Government for his services during 
the terrible outbreak of cholera that visited the place at that 

Mrs. Adams was almost as popular as her husband. She is 
a sister of Sir Arthur Willshire, late Scots Guards, and I am glad 
to say she is still living. 

After leaving India the Adamses settled down into a quiet 
country living in Norfolk, which, if I remember rightly, is in the 
gift of the Duke of Rutland. Here the Padre spent the last 
years of his useful life, dying in 1903. 

Lord Roberts erected a memorial in the church at Stow 
Bridge to the memory of his old friend, and a brass plate was 
placed in the church at Peshawar by other friends, amongst the 
subscribers being the Viceroj^ at that time, namely, Lord 
Curzon of Keddleston. 

After the Padre's death Mrs. Adams gave the portable altar 
he had used during the Afghan Campaign to the church where 
he was working last before his death. 

Unfortunately there is no son to walk in his father's foot- 

Mr. Adams was not heavily endowed with this world's 

12 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

goods, which was a trial to him, as he could not resist helping 
people even when they had no claim on his purse or consideration. 
Once when walking with him from the Brompton Road to 
Park Lane I could hardly get him along ; he would stop and hunt 
for small change for beggars en route. The first stop was before 
a blind man with a pet cat cuddled up inside his coat, while he 
sat on a little stool by the curbstone with a tray of bootlaces 
and etceteras resting on his knees, in hopes of tempting people 
to buy. Here the Padre rattled some pennies into the mug 
suspended round the blind man's neck. Then we moved on. 
The next halt was before a pavement artist's work ; the Fire of 
London, a bloody battle, a favourite racehorse, and various 
other striking pictures adorned the pavement along the park 
railings. Here the Padre made another frantic search for 
small change ; having no coppers, silver was produced and again 
we journeyed on, only to be held up by a woman carrying a 
baby and crying over it, having just emerged from St. George's 
Hospital and evidently very unhappy. This was our third halt, 
and notes were taken down of particulars of the woman's story ; 
then another search, but no money could be found except half 
a sovereign, which he was, I could plainly see, on the verge of 
giving the woman, until I whispered, " Charity begins at home," 
and he hardened his heart, and with promises to look her up and 
see what could be done, we at last came to the end of our walk. 

The REV. J. W. ADAMS, V.C. 

[Facing p. 1-2. 


Fuciiiii p- i'i.] 

Chapter II 

The Rev. George Hustler — A Horse and Hound Lover — His People do not Approve 
— His School and College Days — Explains hovv^ he Passed his Exams. — His 
Marriage — His First Livings — Strange Occurrence in his Church — A Re- 
fractory Pulpit Door — Tlie Vicar has a Fall — The Sexton on All Fours — Mr. 
Hustler a Favourite — His Gallant Conduct — He Comes into Family Property 
— A Picturesque Host — Enjoys Dancing — Acklam Hall — The Drives — 
Hustlers in James I.'s Time — Knighted for Killing a Pirate — An Historic 
Ballad — Brothers whose Tastes Differ — Mr. Hustler's Market Cart — A Drive 
with some Loquacious Ducks — His Hunting-Flask Mixture — Some Old 
Friends — He Hunts in Yorkshire, Durham, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire — His 
Death in the Hunting Field — His Unostentatious Charity — Loves liis Old 

FROM India to Yorkshire is a far cry, but it is worth the 
journey, for Yorkshire is a grand county full of sports- 
men, amongst whom may be numbered a fair sprinkling 
of sporting parsons, whose merits are worth recording. The 
Rev. George Hustler was a fine specimen. He was a lover of 
horses and hounds, and a good judge of both, though how he 
acquired the taste or the knowledge of their points, maladies, 
and all things appertaining to them, is a mystery, for none of 
his people were the least " horsey," not one of them knew 
anything about horses, and in fact thought there was something 
rather fast and vicious in love for them, and the Hustler family 
was pained at the youngest member's affection for them. The 
other members of the family hired their horses by the year 
from a big London firm of jobmasters, being willing to pay 
long sums to be saved all worry in connection with them. If 
one went wrong it was immediately replaced, and they had no 
trouble. Horses were to them simply machines, useful as a 
means of moving about, but not as companions or favourites, 
the only stipulation made with the dealer being that the horses 
must always be grey and well-matched ; no other colour was 
allowed in the stables. 

I once asked Mr. Hustler how he thought he acquired his 
love for and knowledge of horses and hunting. He said he 
thought it was born in him, for he certainly received neither 

14 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

instruction nor encouragement from his father or elder brother. 

George Hustler was the third son of Mr. Thomas Hustler, a 
most eccentric old man living a secluded life at Acklam Hall, 
where his son George was born on June 12th, 1827. At an 
early age he was sent to a school at Southwell kept by a Mr. 
Fletcher, a fashionable place where small boys were educated in 
those days. Several north-countrv^ neighbours accompanied 
him — Sir William Harcourt, Sir Matt. Wilson, Calverlys, 
Gooch's, and others. Those were coaching days, and fine times 
the boys seem to have had with pea -shooters, etc., en 

Later he went to Harrow into the sixth form, and was, I 
believe, the head of it. He had a great love for his old school. 
From there he went to University College, Oxford, where he 
took his degrees of B.A. and M.A., and where he was known as 
the best man on a horse of that time. Needless to say, he 
hunted regularly, but he worked as well as played, which is 
more than a good many have done, if we may judge by their 
own accounts. My friend used to laugh and say he thought his 
singularly difficult handwriting had helped him immensely in 
passing his examinations, as the tutors had neither the time nor 
the patience to read his papers. That was his modest way of 
explaining why he passed easily and well. It was an argument 
that might cut both ways, it seemed to me. 

From Oxford he went to Durham Universit}^ where he was 
ordained in 1849, and the same year married Louisa Hawley, 
eldest daughter of Captain Hawley, King's Dragoon Guards, 
who was present at the battle of Waterloo. 

It was a great disappointment to Mr. Hustler that he had no 
son, as there were none in the family. He had only two daugh- 
ters ; the elder married Richard Hill of Thornton Hall, York- 
shire, and the younger married Colonel Bingham Wright, 
Munster Fusiliers, at that time on the staff at Chatham. 

The first official appointment held by Mr. Hustler in the 
Church was as curate-in-charge of Blanchland in July, 1849, 
after which he went to Acaster near Selby in 1850, remaining 
there until 1859, when he was given the living of Stillingfleet, 
seven miles from York, from where he hunted with all the 
neighbouring packs, more especially the York and Ainsty and 
Bramham Moor. 

The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 15 

In his church at Stillingfleet the Prestons of Moreby Hall 
owned one of the old horse-box pews, large and square, con- 
taining a fireplace. In old Mr. Tom Preston's time (grandfather 
of the present owner), if he found the sermon longer i-han he 
liked, or the subject was not approved, he poked the fire dili- 
gently. Around the pew ran a sort of wooden framework with 
narrow panels and bars. Through these he used to poke his 
head when he wished to see if his workmen and tenants were in 
church. One Sunday he thrust his head too far through and 
could not withdraw it, being obliged to remain in that em- 
barrassing position until someone fetched a saw and cut the 
woodwork away ! 

It is curious what an affection parishioners have for these 
squirearchal pews. At one time we wished to do away with 
ours, but we were begged to do nothing of the kind. Some of 
the old people became quite tearful, and so it remains, fireplace, 
chairs and all, as it has stood for many years. 

I was in this horse-box one day when, after our Vicar had 
preached an eloquent sermon that had left us all subdued, he 
turned to leave the pulpit, but found he could not open the door 
to descend the steps ; the weather being damp, the woodwork 
had presumably swollen. He pushed with one hand, he pushed 
with two ; it was no use. He then kicked it. Still no satis- 
factory result ; so he hurled his body against the door. This 
did the trick, and he flew like an avalanche head first down the 
steps ! This was disconcerting, but he picked himself up 
before anybody had time to render assistance, and marched, 
red in the face but with dignity, to his place in the chancel. 

This scene made the old grey-headed sexton so nervous that 
when he was carrying up the offertory plate he and his hob- 
nailed boots had a sideslip on the well-polished and tiled floor. 
In his endeavour to save himself he shot the contents of the 
plate in every direction ; pennies and halfpennies were rolling 
with frightful clatter here, there, and everywhere. Several 
people dashed to the rescue. I emerged from my retreat to 
help, as it happened by my front door, so to speak. The sexton 
crawled about on all-fours. The moment was tense ! At last, 
when the sexton informed us all was re-collected with the 
exception of one halfpenny, we returned to our respective places 
to continue our devotions, but nothing would persuade the old 

1 6 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

man to return until that halfpenny was found, so we left him 
crawling about still on all-fours. 

At a very early age Mr. Hustler taught his daughters to 
ride, and when they grew up said he must accompany them 
" To look after them in the hunting field," though I think the 
daughters were generally left to look after themselves ; but he 
saw that they were mounted on steady and made hunters. 

He was a great admirer of the fair sex and a favourite with 
them, in a most orthodox manner. He was one of the sweetest - 
tempered and most courteous individuals I ever met. Once 
when out hunting a lady came to grief and her horse was seen 
disappearing in the distance, taking her skirt with it ; the 
Vicar was seen in his shirt-sleeves, having gallantly handed his 
coat to the lady as a substitute for her skirt. It was more 
disconcerting in those days to be deprived of a habit skirt, as it 
by no means followed that the equipment underneath was 
suitable to the occasion. In these days of neat breeches and 
boots it matters little what happens to the habit skirt. 

I am certain that Mr. Hustler's Yorkshire parishioners loved 
and appreciated him for his love of sport, and with that in com- 
mon some hearts were reached that would otherwise have 
avoided the Parson. 

In 1874 old Thomas Hustler died, and the eldest son, not 
wishing to live at Acklam, having other places he liked better, 
and having no son to come after him, asked his brother George 
if he would care to live there, in consequence of which Parson 
Hustler gave up his living at Stillingfleet and went to reside at 
Acklam Mdthout waiting for dead men's shoes. Then the old 
place awoke from its lethargy, merry voices and laughter echoed 
and re-echoed through the old hall, horses neighed in the 
stables, and everything was cheerful ; even the rooks became 
more eloquent and the little birds came nearer to share the 
feasts. Strings of hunters went out exercising, strings of 
hunting people came home to tea in the oak-panelled hall, where 
they hunted all over again the runs of the day and argued about 
certain incidents that had been seen by all and of which no two 
told quite the same tale. 

Our handsome host looked hkc an old engraving, with his 
rather long and very thick wavy grey hair and fuzzy side- 
whiskers, pink-and-white complexion which no weather seemed 

The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 17 

to tan, his figure tall, spare, and well-set up, standing six 
feet two in his socks. I can picture him now as I have seen 
him many times when he came in from hunting, standing in 
front of the fire enjoying his tea and poached eggs. He dared 
not sit down, for if he did he immediately fell asleep. I have 
even seen him fall asleep at dinner if he had anyone sitting 
next him that was inclined to be dull. 

He had no love for politics, literature, or music, but loved 
horses, hunting, and society in general, delighting especially in 
the society of young people. 

He filled his house for every race-meeting and every dance 
that was within driving distance, though he did not race at all 
himself, but was one of those tolerant folk who like to see 
other people enjoying themselves, even if the particular form 
of amusement does not greatly interest them. He danced 
with the gayest and youngest, seldom missing an item on the 
programme, thoroughly enjoying twiddling round and round 
with a little string-halt action peculiar to himself, which ap- 
peared to give him pleasure. Owing to making himself very 
agreeable he never lacked partners. 

I think Acklam itself deserves a little recognition. It was a 
nice old Elizabethan house standing in well-timbered grounds 
and approached by two avenues, one stately and dignified, 
entirely of grass, with a double row of magnificent elms down 
each side. The other drive was the ordinary gravel affair. 

Owing to the number of valuable cattle enjoying themselves 
on the pasture about the grass avenue, some formidable and 
tiresome iron gates had been placed at intervals, attached to 
rather high iron railings. When riding, these were a nuisance, 
as we generally let our horses have a good gallop on the turf, and 
they resented being pulled up while we fiddled opening and 
shutting gates. 

The house was altogether an awkward one to visit at night, 
as in addition to the many gates there was a sunk fence between 
the lawns in front of the house and the grass avenue. The 
fence was crossed by a bridge at one side with gates. 

Once after some wedding festivities, when our coachman was 
endeavouring to drive us home with a spirited pair of Irish 
horses, he mistook the road and proceeded to drive over the 
sunken fence in the dark. Fortunately the horses were in a 


1 8 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

less intoxicated condition than the coachman, and thought it 
would be a pity to jump the sunk fence with the carriage behind 
them. While they were having an altercation with the coach- 
man we became aware of our perilous position in time to avoid 

Inside the house there are some beautiful painted ceilings 
and old-fashioned fireplaces ; also a secret door in the library, 
and other interesting things. 

The Hustlers are an old family, the first I can hear of them 
being in the reign of James I., when a Hustler was knighted and 
given the Manors of Bridlington for shooting the noted pirate. 
Sir Andrew Barton, who in 1511 commanded two Scotch ships, 
with the help of which, and by his depredations, he amassed 
great wealth. His ships were usually heavily laden. The Earl 
of Surrey, who was the chief of the " Council Board of England " 
at the time, received so many complaints from merchants and 
sailors of the robberies of this Sir Andrew Barton, that he 
determined at all costs a stop should be put to his nefarious 
practices. With this object in view he fitted out two ships 
and sent them to sea under his two sons with letters of marque. 
One son was Sir Thomas Howard, called Lord Howard by old 
historians, afterwards created Earl of Surrey in his father's 
lifetime ; the other son was Sir Edward Howard, according 
to an old manuscript I have before me. 

After encountering some dirty weather, these sporting 
seamen fell in with the Lion, commanded by Sir Andrew Barton 
in person, who was tackled by Lord Howard. The other 
brother Edward came across the Union, the second pirate ship. 
It appears the engagement between these four ships was ex- 
tremely obstinate on both sides, but at last the fortunes of the 
Howards prevailed and Sir Andrew was killed, fighting bravely 
and encouraging his men to hold out to the last, in spite of 
which the two Scotch ships were captured and carried up the 
river Thames on August 2nd, 1511. 

This was rather a brilliant achievement, as the two Howards 
were only volunteers, so to speak, acting on the orders of their 
father. The affair was in a great measure the cause of the 
Battle of Flodden in which James IV. lost his life on September 
9th, 1513. 

An old ballad in the keeping of one of the Hustler family 

The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 19 

tells the whole story in one hundred and ninety verses. From 
this it appears that one of the Hustlers served with Lord Howard 
on his ship, and when they came up with the Lion and matters 
were looking serious, he was called upon to take good aim and 
kill a certain officer on the enemy ship. The ballad says : 

Lord Howard hee then called in haste, 

" Hustler, see thou be true in stead, 

For thou shalt from the maine-mast hang 

If thou misse twelvescore one penny bread." ^ 

Then I gather this Hustler slew one named Gordon on Sir 
Andrew's ship with much skill, and was called upon to repeat 
the process on another officer named Hambilton. 

But Hustler with a broad arrowe 
Pierced the Hambilton through the heart 
And down he fell upon the deck 
That with his blood did streame amaine. 

This was considered so brilliant that Hustler was now called 
upon to kill the pirate himself. 

" Oh, come hither, Hustler," says my lord, . 
" And look your shaft that itt goe right, 
Shoot a good shoote in time of need 
And for it, thou shalt be made a knight." 

" He shoot my best," quoth Hustler, " then 
Your honour shall see with might and mains, 
But if I were hanged at your maine mast 
I have now left but arrowes twain." 

I then read that Hustler was again successful, for — 

Upon his breast did Hustler hitt, 
But the arrowe bounded back agen, 
Then Hustler spyed a privey place 
With a perfect eye in a secret part. 
Under the spole of his right arme 
He smote Sir Andrew to the heart. 

Then Hustler said, " Aboard, my lord, 
For well T wott Sir Andrew's dead." 
They boarded then his noble ship, 
They boarded it with might and maine. 
Eighteen score Scotts ahve they found, 
The rest were either maimed or slain. 

In return for these services 

The king then say'd as a reward, 
'' Hustler, thou shalt be a knight 
And land and hvings shalt have store." 

Other honours were bestowed on those who took part in this 
great event, but they have nothing to do with the Hustlers. 

* An old English word for " breadth." 

20 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

The Acklam Estate became the Hustlers' property in 
Charles I.'s time. It is now worth ten times more than in those 
days, as Middlesborough, the home of many industries, has 
spread itself almost up to the gates, land fetching long prices 
and big rents gladly paid. In addition to Acklam, Sladnor Park 
in Devonshire, and Newsham Hall, Darlington, also belong to 
the Hustlers. 

It must have been difficult for strangers to realise that 
George and William Hustler were brothers, being absolutely 
unlike both in appearance and tastes, but they had the same 
gentle voice in common with all Hustlers and had the curious 
Yorkshire habit of clipping their words. George habitually said 
" huntin' " and " cubbin' " instead of " hunting " and " cub- 
ing " — quite the Dundreary style. 

These brothers were always eager to look at the papers for 
the " meets," but for diametrically opposite reasons. George 
used to laugh at this, as his elder brother scrutinised the list with 
the view to avoiding coming into touch with hounds and their 
followers ; he even forbade his grandchildren to walk to a meet 
near their home for fear they might catch infectious complaints, 
presumably the infection of sport ; while he, George, carefully 
studied the list to see how many meets were within possible 
distance for him to reach, and hunt with them. When they were 
far afield he sometimes used to drive in a remarkably uncomfort- 
able sort of market cart, in which he would pick up anybody he 
met on the road that he thought would be glad of a Hft. A drive 
in this cart was a real trial. The seat was loose, and had views 
of its own as to its proper position in life. When travelling in a 
hilly country passengers started at one side of the cart and 
speedily drifted to the other, and, unless very careful, might 
easily find themselves on the road. 

Drives with Mr. George Hustler were usually full of incident. 
He used to take passing fancies to things he met on the road. 
On one occasion, when driving sixteen miles to a meet, he took 
a fancy to some ducks, which he stopped and bought, taking 
them with him in the cart. They never ceased quacking the 
whole sixteen miles, slowly and plaintively when the horse was 
walking uphill, furiously and protesting ly when trotting. Per- 
haps, like the poor occupants of the cart who were shaken 
nearly to pieces, they could not help it ! 













































o s 




The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 21 

Mr. Hustler was very conservative and rather obstinate ; 
to try and make him change his mind when once it was made 
up was simply waste of time — not "all the king's horses and 
all the king's men " could do it. 

Like most hunting people, when motor-cars first came into 
use he abominated them, and he died before he was weaned of 
his dislike by finding the convenience and comfort of them. 

The mixture he took out hunting with him in his flask v/as 
most nauseous, being half whiskey and half quinine. At all times 
he was moderate both in eating and drinking, and he considered 
this blend sustaining ! Occasionally he handed his flask to a 
neighbour who might be without, or to someone who had met 
with a spill and v>'anted pulling together : the fluid was generally 
successful, chiefly, I think, from surprise. 

Although shy and reticent, Mr. Hustler had a number of 
great friends. Many perished in the terrible Newby Ferry 
accident when hunting with the York and Ainsty. That same 
ferry-boat had often carried Mr. Hustler and his daughters when 
hunting. I have given a brief account of this accident in 
another chapter in connection with the Rev. Charles Slingsby. 

Old Lord Wenlock, the second baron, was one of Mr. Hustler's 
great friends, also Sir Matthew Wharton Wilson (the latter had 
been at school and college with him), the Prestons of Moreby, 
James Palmes of Escrick, the Lawleys, and countless others, 
not forgetting Sir George and Lady Julia Wombwell. Sir 
George hunted the York and Ainsty after the death of Sir Charles 
Slingsby, being followed by Colonel Fairfax, whose wife was 
a great horsewoman. 

Archbishop Thomson, though he shied a little at Parson 
Hustler's hunting proclivities, was an admirer and friend, and 
the Hustlers often stayed at Bishopthorpe. Bishop Ellicott of 
Gloucester also was very kind to him. 

Amongst the hobbies that interested Mr. Hustler was the 
rearing of prize poultry, of vv^hich he was a good judge, and he 
officiated at shows, often being successful when showing his 
own — not, of course, when he was acting as judge himself. 

He seldom showed his horses, but his "Wenlock," if I re- 
member rightly, took a first prize for jumping at Islington. He 
gcncrall};' attended all the big shows. 

Dogs he was fond of ; lovers of horses generally are. He 

22 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

collected a large number at one time of Parson Jack Russell's 
celebrated fox-terriers. They were rather mischievous little 
creatures and played havoc amongst the poultry, managing to 
catch them even through the bars of the kennels when any 
birds were inquisitive. 

When still a child, my first day's hunting with the York and 
Ainsty was on a big sixteen-hand horse of Mr. Hustler's, with 
a hard mouth but some repute. My friend was anxious I 
should try him. All went well until hounds found, then I 
became aware my saddle was too big for me and my mount too 
much for me^ — he was finding a difference between 9 stone and 15. 
As soon as I was in hail of Mr. Hustler, I informed him I feared 
I must take the horse home, as I could not hold him and might 
bring him, or ])Ossibly some of the field, to grief, or disgrace 
myself by over-riding the hounds. The advice given to me by 
the horse's owner was, " Let him go, don't try to hold him." 
Happily, nothing dreadful occurred. 

After a few j^ears of enjoyment at Acklam, the home of his 
youth, Mr. George Hustler's whole-hearted hospitality began to 
upset his balance at the bank a little uncomfortably, and his 
elder brother, who liked neither hounds, horses, nor young 
people, began to lecture him on his expensive tastes and ex- 
travagance. This went on for a time until it became unbearable, 
and my hunting parson decided to shut the place up and let 
his brother come back to it if he liked. And so Acklam once 
more lapsed into silence, and Mr. George and his family went to 
live near Oxford, where they bought a place called Weald Manor, 
and continued hunting and being cheery from there. 

The following gives a little idea of the amount of sport he 
enjoyed. On Monday he would go to stay at Oxford, hunting en 
route with the Vale of the White Horse. On Tuesday, Wednes- 
day, Thursday, and Friday he hunted from Oxford. On Satur- 
day he returned to Weald Manor, hunting en route with the 
Vale of the White Horse. On Sunday, though not at the time 
holding any living, he preached two, and sometimes three, 
sermons. Finding time between his huntings to collect some good 
and rare china, also queer and ancient silver specimens. After 
the house would hold no more, he packed these treasures away 
over the stables. 

As usual, he had a mount or two for friends, and a nephew 

The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 23 

who was at the University at that time came in for mounts two 
or three days a week, having the time of his life. This nephew 
is the present owner of all these Hustler properties, and takes a 
great interest in them, as well as in all the leading movements of 
the day. 

Mr. George Hustler prided himself on being able to ride 
horses no one else could manage, and when the time came that 
money was not very plentiful this was a boon, as he was able to 
pick up some very awkward animals for small considerations. 
They mostly went kindly with him, which was more than some 
of them did when he occasionally mounted friends on them. 

From Oxford he had plenty of hunting and owned some fine 
horses, but in 1877 an old north-country friend, the Rev. John 
Burdon, resigned the living of English Bickner, in Gloucester- 
shire, and it was offered to George Hustler, who accepted it, as 
he had been feeling for some time that he ought to be doing some 
work. Yet I know he was not entirely in accord with all the 
English Church's creeds and dogmas and was glad to give up his 
living at Stillingfleet partly on that account. Perhaps he had 
become reconciled to the Church requirements, or maybe it was 
a case of necessity knowing no law. 

Poor dear old man ! He often told me he hoped he should 
not die in bed, a lingering death, but out in the open air amongst 
all the beautiful works of nature he loved so well. He wanted 
to die in harness, and his wish was fulfilled, for he died the 
death of all others he would have liked, " giving no trouble to 
anyone," as he expressed it. 

When first he went to English Bickner, he built kennels at 
his own expense and hunted the Forest of Dean for deer and fox, 
but had given up hunting hounds himself a year or two before 
he died, finding the strain too much for him in his advancing 

When last I was at English Bickner in his lifetime the kennels 
were empty, and only two horses stood in the stables, but he still 
hunted with the Ross Harriers, Mr. Teddy Curres', and neighbour- 
ing packs until the end. He was out with the Ross Harriers the 
day he died, February 25, 1905. He had been suffering for some 
years with his heart, and ought not really to have been hunting at 
all. On the morning of the 25th he appeared to be in his usual 
health, and started away on his gentle and clever hunter, 

24 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" Maccaroni." While jumping a small fence into plough, with 
a slight drop on landing, his mount pecked rather badly, but did 
not fall. It was observed by those near that he made no effort 
to save the horse, but simply fell off and never moved again, 
having died of heart failure. He was buried beside his wife in 
English Bickner Churchyard. 

Mr. Hustler was the most extraordinarily sweet-tempered 
man I ever met. It almost amounted to a fault. I never heard 
an angry or impatient word from him or a grumble. If his elder 
brother, who was a very rich man, preached to him about ex- 
travagance, no word that was not kind and charitable left his 
lips. If anybody in his parish was cantankerous he was full of 
excuses for them, saying their bark was worse than their bite. 
The poor were well cared for wherever Mr. Hustler dwelt. He 
was the soul of generosity. I have grieved in his later years, 
when he wanted many things himself, to see the bottles of wine 
and good things going from his home just the same as in his 
better-off days. 

He had grown sad latterly, partly from the depression that 
so often accompanies heart trouble, and also I think he felt 
rather keenly, though he did not saj'^ so, that when he could no 
longer keep open house and mount people as of old, so few whom 
he had helped, feasted, and benefited, remembered him. How 
true it is : 

" Laugh, and the world laughs with you ; 
Weep, and you weep alone." 

I used to potter round the empty kennels and stables with 
him and talk of the wonderful performances of some of his old 
favourites, feeling very sad. His wife was dead, his daughters 
married, and he had no son ; it was a very lonely eventide. 

I shall carry with me to the end of my days the memory of 
his unsurpassable gentleness with all things and all people. For 
twenty -eight years he ministered to the parish of English Bick- 
ner, and no one can remember seeing him out of temper or 
otherwise than gentle. 

One of the peculiarities of his household was its unpunctu- 
ality. For instance, luncheon was supposed to be at one o'clock 
— at least, that was the advertised time, so to speak — yet I can 
remember sitting making polite conversation from one o'clock 

The Rev. George Hustler, M.F.H. 25 

until a quarter to three in the afternoon waiting for my kmcheon, 
growing hungrier and hungrier, until it turned to feeling as if 
I never wished to eat again. It did not seem to strike any of 
the family that it was inconvenient. I suppose their own in- 
sides got accustomed to it, and therefore felt no vacuum. Mr. 
Hustler was a very small eater himself, almost a teetotaler, and a 
non-smoker, but could not sit down for five minutes without 
falling asleep. At intervals he would awake with a smile and 
look round in an amused way, as much as to say, " Have I been 
to sleep really ? " then make some quite irrelevant remark and 
fall asleep again with an angelic smile upon his face. 

Like most generous, good-natured people, he was consider- 
ably imposed upon at times ; people with woeful faces and long 
stories used to take him in. I told him so once, when I saw 
through an old woman who was robbing him. His reply was 
characteristic : " Possibly, but I would rather run the risk than 
feel that perhaps I had refused help to someone in need." 

He was very sympathetic to young people. Once when I 
was staying at Acklam he was taking a large omnibus-load of 
young folk to a ball in the neighbourhood, when suddenly the 
light at the end of the omnibus went out and we were all in 
darkness. There ensued a good deal of laughter and skirmish- 
ing. Later in the evening Mr. Hustler told me he was respon- 
sible for this episode, saying, " I knew the young people would 
like it." I think they did ! 

Acklam has passed now to the son of George Hustler's sister. 
He has taken the name of Hustler, and has made great improve- 
ments to the place and done away with the dangerous sunk fence. 
He was much attached to his Uncle George, who was a man who 
should have been always heaped with this world's goods, for he 
would have spent it royally in giving pleasure to all within his 
reach, and being happy himself into the bargain. 

His charities were unostentatious and unbounded. He 
hunted out all the most remote cottages where help was needed, 
both in his own parish and often in his neighbours' as well. An 
old chimney-sweep, who used to be called Dick Turpin, and who 
was not generally liked, sent many miles when he was dying to 
ask Parson Hustler to come and see him, because " he had always 
spoken kind " to him. Mr. Hustler stayed with him until he 
passed through the gate into the Great Silence. 

26 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Anybody that was looked down upon, or what some people 
would call " bad characters," especially appealed to him, for he 
always saw good in everybody. One great and moving sermon 
he preached giving his text, " Thinketh no evil," and truly he 
carried this out in his own life. 

When in the pulpit it could hardly be called preaching, his 
words were so simple, his manner so gentle ; he talked to us more 
than he preached. 

One of his peculiarities was his love for his old clothes. He 
clung to them with tenacity. I rather took his part in this 
when his family tried to persuade him to wear some of the things 
he kept put away most carefully ; he was very tidy and 
methodical at all times, and would never allow anyone to 
touch his things but himself. When anybody was in need of 
clothes, and his family were not looking, he used to unearth 
these better garments and give them away ! 

Chapter III 

The Rev. Cecil Legard — An Old Yorkshire Family — They Fight for the Royalists 
— Mr. Legard at College — A Steeplechase — Disapproval of the Dons — A 
Bad-tempered Chaser — Hunting with Hugo Meynell — A Wedding on Con- 
ditions — The Sale of a Pack of Hounds — Planting Coverts at Brocklesby — 
The Length of Masterships — The Living of Cottesbrooke — Hunting with the 
Pytchley — "Time Expired" — Judging at Peterborough and Dublin — Mr. 
Legard Compiles the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book — A Misunderstood Joke — 
Manners in the Hunting Field — The Rev. E. A. Milne, M.F.H. — Addresses 
his Field — Hunts in Pink — His Daughters out Hunting — The Rev.L. B. Morris 
— Chaplain to Lord Middleton — His Shooting and Hunting — Defies the 

YORKSHIRE, the home of my birth, of which fact lam 
rather proud, boasts another well-known sportsman 
cleric in the Rev. Cecil Legard, brother of, and heir to the 
present and twelfth baronet. 

Mr. Legard does not like being called a sporting parson ; he 
prefers the term " sportsman cleric." So be it ; but, whatever 
we call him, he remains a true sportsman, and is almost as well 
known and respected as York Minster. He was bom on No- 
vember 28, 1843. His father, Henry Legard, was the youngest 
son of the late Sir Thomas Digby Legard, father of the eleventh 
baronet, and this Henry married the sister of the eighth Lord 
Middleton, of Birdsall, York. Of this union were born Algernon 
Legard, the present baronet, and his brother Cecil, of whom I 
am writing, who is a keen sportsman. How could he be other- 
wise, with sporting blood on both sides of the family ? 

The Legards of Gauton and Anlaby are a good old York- 
shire family, the property of Anlaby having been acquired by 
them in 1100. Sir John, the first baronet, was so created in 
1660, when he fought valiantly for the Royalists. There have 
been in the family loyal statesmen, soldiers, and divines, all 
sportsmen in the truest sense of the term. 

Note — Mr. Legard has died since this chapter was written. 

28 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Mr. Legard's father, before his marriage, was in the 9th 
Lancers, one of the hardest riding regiments in the Service ; from 
him no doubt, Mr. Cecil Legard inherited his love for riding, 
racing, hunting, and all things appertaining to them. 

In 1863 Cecil Legard went to Magdalene College, Cambridge. 
Here he quickly found a place amongst kindred spirits who loved 
horses and sport as well as he did. 

In 1865 we find him in the midst of racing and hunting. It 
was in that year the two Universities wished to establish an 
annual steeplechase, a sort of sister to the boat-race, but the Dons 
did not take kindly to the idea, so it had to be dropped in its orig- 
inal form ; but it was not entirely fnistrated, for it appeared as 
" The Grand Steeplechase Match — Oxford versus Cambridge," 
no owners' names being on the race-card, and the jockeys rode 
under fictitious ones. Only those in the secret knew who the 
owners were or who was going to ride. 

Amongst these sporting undergraduates they arranged that 
each University should have four representatives, all to ride 
twelve stone and over three miles of the Aylesbury Course, the 
value of the race being £150. 

It being no longer a secret who took part in that Stee]:5le- 
chase, I may give the correct names of the owners and riders 
and the numbers as they finished : 


Mr. Grissell's " Marchioness " Owner 1 

Duke of Hamilton's " Pantaloon" Mr. Frederick 2 

Mr. a. Smith-Barry's " Loyalty " Owner 4 

Earl of Harrington's " Kate " Lord Willoughby 

DE Broke o 


Hon. H.Fitzwilliam's "Proposition" Mr. Cecil Legard 3 

Mr. Candy's " Colleen Bawn " Hon. T. Fitzwilliam 5 

Lord Aberdour's " The Good Lady " Viscount Melgund o 

Hon. T. Fitzwilliam 's " Heimitage " . . . .Lord Aberdour o 

by which it will be seen that Oxford won, and Mr. Legard, rid- 
ing for Cambridge, came in third. " Proposition," the horse 
he was riding, belonged to the still living Hon. H. Fitz- 
william, at one time a steward of the Jockey Club and founder 

The Revs. Legard, Milne, M.F.H., and Morris 29 

of the famous " Whip," so coveted by undergraduates at Cam- 
bridge who in those days settled their battles between the flags 
over the Cottenham Course, while Oxford always went to 

Few are living now of those who took part in the 1865 Steeple- 
chase. I think Captain Grissell, Lord Minto— at that time Lord 
Melgund — and Lord Barrymore — formerly Smith-Barry — and 
the Rev. Cecil Legard are the only ones left. 

It was the association of Captain Machell with Cambridge 
University and its nearness to Newmarket that induced so many 
undergraduates to indulge in turf pursuits. A good number of 
them used to spend their week-ends at the Turf Metropolis. 

Mr. Cecil Legard was among the number who enjoyed those 
early-day frolics. His cousin, Sir Charles Legard, who was born 
in 1846 and died in 1901, also raced a good deal and had some 
good horses. Amongst all these young bloods they seem to 
have had a real good time. 

Although Mr. Legard was disappointed in his place in the 
Grand Steeplechase in 1865, later he had better luck, winning 
twice running the Challenge Whip much desired by all . 

In 1867 Mr. Legard took his degree, and, before leaving 
Cambridge, added M.A. and LL.B. to his name. He now felt 
he could not continue to be associated with too much racing, but 
to this day takes the keenest interest in the sport. Up to the time 
war was declared I think there were very few race-meetings of 
any importance that he did not attend, and he seldom missed 
the Derby. 

He says the best horse he ever owned was "Acrobat," 
purchased from Captain Machell ; but for the animal's bad 
temper he might have won many races, but he could never be 
relied on, as when he felt so inclined, in the middle of a race as 
likely as not, he would stand perfectly still quite suddenly and 
refuse to move another step until it suited his convenience, or 
his temper ; having allowed the rest of the field to pass him a 
few hundred yards, he then would do a finish all on his own. 
Not a horse to put money on ! With the exception of his 
temper, he was good all round, no doubt, as Mr. Legard is an 
excellent judge — ^few better — and his advice is still eagerly 
sought after by those bent on purchase, or wishing to know 
his views as to horses' possible attainments. 

30 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Mr. Legard's first clerical duty was a curacy in Derbyshire. 
There he hunted with Hugo Meynell's pack, which had been 
founded in 1816 by the Master, Hugo Meynell, and hunted by 
him until 1869. 

Then the living of Boynton in Yorkshire was presented to 
him by Sir George Cholmeley, and there he spent nine happy 
years, from 1870 to 1879. It was in 1870 he married Miss Hall, 
eldest daughter of James Hall of Scarborough, who hunted the 
Holderness for the best part of forty years — in fact, up to the 
time of his death in 1877. 

Mr. Hall's two daughters were anxious the pack should not 
be dispersed, so Mr. Legard, at his wife's request, offered the 
pack to the county for the sum of £2,500, which was at once 
forthcoming. When Mr. Hall gave his consent to his daughter 
marrying Mr. Legard, he made one stipulation with his son-in- 
law, namely, he must hunt and bring his wife to hunt with him 
regularly for three months each year. 

Mr. Legard now moved to Brocklesby, where another ten 
happy years were spent. There were several packs near enough 
for him to hunt with them, but he was mostly seen with Lord 

While at Brocklesby he planted three coverts, calling them 
"The Scmb Close," "The Ledge Cop," and "Sir Richard 
Sutton's Thorns," where up to the time of the war many hunted, 
but few remembered the unselfishness of the man who had given 
his time and money for the benefit of the country as a little 
return for the pleasant days he had spent there. 

When we think of the lengthy masterships of those bygone 
days it makes one wonder why they are of such brief duration 
now — or rather in the years before 1914. What will happen 
after peace is declared, who can foresee ? Perhaps the last 
generation had more grit, cared nothing for the grumbles and 
bad manners of their followers, or perhaps the present-day 
grumblings and fault-findings are only a sign of the age. There 
used to be rows in the olden times, we know, but that was 
chiefly over matters of hunting -boundaries and such-like things, 
not the personal matters we hear so much of to-day concerning 
the Masters, who spend a good part of their lives and a great 
deal out of their pockets in trjdng to show sport and give 
pleasure to even the humblest follower and smallest subscriber. 

The Revs. Legard, Milne, M.F.H., and Morris 31 

One cannot help wondering why the grumblers come out if 
they so disapprove of the Master's methods ; nobody wants 
them, though it is amusing to hear how much better they think 
they could hunt hounds themselves. In man}^ cases I am sure 
their endeavours would be an instructive and beautiful sight. 

Mr. Legard tells me he was proud of having been blooded bv 
Will Carter, huntsman to old Sir Tatton Sykes. 

In 1887 Sir H. Langham, at that time Master of the Pytchley, 
presented the living of Cottesbrooke in Northamptonshire to 
Parson Legard, and there he remained until 1914, enjoying life 
and health, holding his own in the saddle against all comers, 
young or old. 

It was a charming little parish, and did not boast of a single 

In a letter I received a short time ago from him he tells me 
he has now attained the age of " threescore years and ten," and 
he considers himself " time expired." It seems incredible so 
many tides have washed the shore, for until his throat began to 
give him trouble in 1914 he hunted his four days a week with a 
bright steady eye and unshaken nerve. 

His health is now causing him anxiety and he is not able to 
ride at all, which is a great grief to him ; but when well enough he 
finds his way down to Tattersall's and any race-meetings there 
may be. I never heard Mr. Legard preach, but I know that in 
all the parishes where he has lived he has been greatly liked and 
respected. He has the stately and very courteous manner of 
his generation — perhaps a little more sedate than some. Up to a 
year or two ago he had a bright, fresh complexion. He still 
retains his bright eyes, and is interested in everything and very 
proud of his grandchildren. I wonder if they will be able to 
give as good an account of themselves when they are his age. 

This fine old Yorkshireman has officiated several times at 
Peterborough Hound Show, and has for many years given a 
silver hunting-horn as prize for the best unentered doghound. 
His judgment was seldom in error. In 1885 he gave the prize 
to Lord Willoughby de Broke's " Harper " who proved to be 
one of the finest hounds of his day. 

In 1892 I remember his judging at the Dublin Horse Show — 
an anxious though delightful occupation — where there is such 
an enormous entry, and all of the best to decide amongst. On 

32 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that particular occasion I think I remember there were two 
hundred and fifty horses. 

At the request of the Master of Foxhounds' Association, Mr. 
Legard a few years ago undertook the very arduous task of 
compihng the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book, the labour of which 
can only be understood and appreciated by those who have even 
in a small way worked back over a few generations of hounds, 
endeavouring to fill in their pedigrees faithfully and fully for the 
benefit and use of future sportsmen and women. 

I first met Mr. Legard at Bishopthorpe when staying with 
Archbishop Thomson, whom as children we called the " Cod- 
fish," because we thought him so like one. He was really a fine, 
handsome man, but he certainly did at times remind one of that 

There is nothing the least loud or horsey in Mr. Legard's 
appearance ; on the contrary, always neat, as neat as could be, 
of late years clean-shaven, with a healthy colour. When racing 
he wears a bird's-eye tie suitable to the occasion, at other 
times the regulation clerical one ; but it would not be Mr. Legard 
without the tall hat and sensible umbrella which are his habitual 

Some years ago an enterprising journalist, meeting him in 
Piccadilly, asked for a photograph to reproduce with an account 
of his hunting and racing experiences for one of the leading 
sporting papers of the day. Not being anxious for this adver- 
tisement, Mr. Legard said jokingly he feared it might prevent 
him being made the next Archbishop of York. 

The following week, or at least shortly after this interview, 
there appeared in the paper the Parson's picture with a well- 
written article on his sporting activities, and his remarks taken 
seriously about being the next Archbishop of York. 

Poor Mr. Legard ! What must his feelings have been ! 
It surely was hard to forgive, but with his characteristic kindness 
and good nature he took it all in good part. 

We are told to forgive our enemies, but we are not told to 
forgive our friends, which is perhaps just as well, for at times 
they are hard to forgive. 

All the clerical sportsmen I have known have been smart, 
well-groomed men, keen observers of the ritual of the chase, 
which leads to respect and a certain amount of reverence. 


[Faci)i(j p. 32. 

The Revs. Legard, Milne, M.F.H., and Morris 33 

There would not be half the sympathy with hunting that now 
exists but for a certain amount of pomp and ceremony, the 
observing of outward and visible signs. 

Gaudy garments are not often worn by parsons, but they can 
be properly turned out all the same. A certain amount of a 
man's character can be read by observing the details of his 
toilet, and how his things are put on. No man with a well- 
balanced methodical mind can put his clothes on higgledy- 
piggledy, as though with a pitchfork ; it would be painful to 
his feelings and dignity, even if nobody was going to see him 
except the robin on the window-sill and the snowdrops in the 
garden. The man who appears in a crump led-up stock, looking 
as if he had slept in it for some time, drooping degage-looking 
spurs, and who swears it is all the same to him which side of his 
horse he mounts from, may be a great genius of sorts and living 
in the clouds — under which circumstances it would be almost 
better if he stayed there, for he will not reflect credit on any 
pack he hunts with. 

Such curious animals are we human beings, so influenced by 
our surroundings, that when a few of these floppity, untidy 
sportsmen are around us we gradually feel our own backbone 
giving way, and say to ourselves it will be all the same a hundred 
years hence, which of course is all wrong — it won't be all the 
same a hundred years hence. And that is why I think hunting 
parsons have such a good influence on the field ; example does 
so much ; if we are with well-groomed people we like to be 
well-groomed too, and feel a certain dignity and self-respect in 

Particularly have I noticed how a parson's presence will keep 
the field free from swearing and disgusting language. I know 
of no greater example of this than on the Dorsetshire hill- 
country, presided over by that deservedly popular Master, the 
Rev. E. A. Milne, M.F.H., who holds his large and sometimes 
headstrong field in such perfect order. I have often marvelled 
at the extraordinary way in which this reverend gentleman 
keeps order without resort to those senseless vulgar oaths so 
many Masters consider necessary. Instead of these he delivers 
little homilies on the duties of a field while hounds are at work, 
with more excellent results than indulgence in invective. 

I have come to the conclusion, after years of hunting ex- 


34 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

perience and close observations of men, that some use " swear 
words " and Johnsonian words of endearment to reheve their 
pent-up feelings. Expressing one's feelings is no doubt a 
relief, but the majority do it because they think it fine and 
clever, and because others of the same genre laugh at their 
vulgarity, until it becomes a habit and they do not know when 
they do it, or how much it is spoiling the pleasure of those who 
see nothing clever or amusing in it. 

There is no keener sportsman in the west country than Mr. 
Milne, who hunts six days a week, and is much sought after as 
a judge at puppy -shows. 

He hunts in pink, which is not a common practice with 
parsons ; he also acts as his own huntsman, and during the 
hunting-season wears pink in the evening. He says whatever 
he does he tries to dress the part. On Sundaj^s always a tall 
hat and black coat, even in his remote little village. He has 
hunted the Cattistock for seventeen years ; before that he was 
Master of the North Bucks Harriers ; before that again, the 
Trinity Beagles at Cambridge, so he has had considerable 

In the Cattistock country he was usually accompanied by 
one or two little daughters, before they grew up and married. 
They rode their father's horses and looked picturesque in velvet 
hunting -caps. It was interesting to hear such small people, as 
they were when first I saw them, discussing runs in the most 
highly technical language. 

A jocose little bird told me one day that the Rev. Edgar, 
better known as " Jack " Milne, of the Cattistock, might be 
seen any day, between early June and August 1st, sitting looking 
through the bars of the fox-den at the Zoo, deeply pondering 
from daylight till dark. 

Sobriety of manners in the hunting -field carried me on to 
Mr. Milne before I had finished my Yorkshire sporting clerics, 
and I wished to include the Rev. L. B. Morris, well known 
with the York and Ainsty, Lord Middleton's, and other York- 
shire packs. He was chaplain to Lord Middleton at Birdsall 
for fourteen years, and naturally did a good deal of hunting 
with his hounds. I met him first staying with the Hustlers ; he 
was always very smart, spick and span, and one day when he 
had just arrived at the meet, a young mare I was on took the 

The Revs. Legard, Milne, M.F.H., and Morris 35 

opportunity to plunge into a deep and muddy ditch close to 
Mr. Morris, covering him with slimy wet mud. I was quite 
prepared for scowls if not imprecations, but neither scowl nor 
harsh words escaped him, and we became great friends. 

He is an all-round good sportsman, being as much at home 
Avith his gun as in the saddle ; he does considerable execution 
every year at Studley Royal when shooting with Lord Ripon. 

He has now retired from clerical work and lives in peace and 
contentment the life of the country squire, with his wife (who 
was a Miss Whitaker, daughter of Marmaduke Whitaker, of 
Breckamore) and his daughter. Mr. Morris married in 1885 
vAien he went to live at the family living of Thornton-in-Craven, 
near Leeds. He now lives at Breckamore, and is very busy 
with county work, magistrates' meetings, and war work of all 

One of his characteristics is his cheerfulness, which is 
infectious. Wherever he may be people congregate ; yet with 
all his merriment and banter I never heard him say an unkind 
thing of anybody ; the merriment is never at the expense of 
other people. 

I have heard it stated that " everybody's friend is nobody's 
friend," but do not believe it, for here is a character that proves 
the fallacy of that old saying. Mr. Morris is like Saint Paul, 
"all things to all men," not, as is often the case, from ex- 
pediency, but from goodness of heart. 

I think it speaks well for a man who has spent his life helping 
to bear other people's burdens, when he can say he has not lost, 
once and for ever, every illusion he ever embraced ; and when 
in the autumn of his days he has defied all the cobwebs ; but 
then Mr. Morris's life has been spent in pleasant places and he 
has been comfortably endowed with this world's goods, which 
doubtless helps to prevent cobwebs from claiming little corners. 

Chapter IV 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H., M.O.H.— Where he Wrote his Sermons— An 
Ancient Powder Cupboard — Some Clergy Defy their Bishops — Parson Jack as 
a Boy — Gets into Trouble and Out Again — Boxing and Hunting at Cambridge 
— His Fox-Terrier " Trump " — The King's Admiration of Her — His first Cleri- 
cal Work — Some Packs of Hounds — He Marries — Mr. Templer of Stover's 
Hunting Methods — Some Favourite Horses — His Staff — Two Churches and a 
Curate on £180 a Year — His Friends the Gypsies — A Well-known Story — 
Virtue Rewarded — Sells his Pack — Introduced to the Prince of Wales — At 
Sandringham — Pilots the Prince with Stag Hounds — A Soldier's View of the 
Sporting Parson — Bad Luck at Black Torrington — The Rat-Catcher's Charm 
— Parson Jack's Boot- Jack — His Frugal Habits — A Pathetic Funeral. 

WHO is there that has not heard of the great sporting 
parson, the Rev. Jack Russell, one of the most 
celebrated figures in the west country, and well liked 
everywhere ? 

It has always surprised me that nowhere have I ever read 
of, or heard any mention of, his little powder cupboard wherein 
he wrote his sermons, when in his later years he was rector of 
Black Torrington. This funny but interesting cupboard was no 
doubt used many times by Mr. Russell's predecessors, while 
they sat wrapped in a sheet during the powdering of their wigs 
for Sunday service, or possibly for a carousal with the squire, 
maybe for both. I am glad to say when I saw it last, a few 
years ago, it remained exactly as it stood in Mr. Russell's time, 
in a big empty room, not let into a wall or seeking its support, 
but more like a sentry-box, approached up some steps a little 
to one side of the room, with a door to shut behind the occupier, 
and a small square window after the fashion of an attic window 
not intended to open or shut. Out of it could be seen a glimpse 
of the spare room, and beyond it some greenery viewed through 
the window of the room. Inside this curious edifice there 
stands the original sloping sort of schoolboy-desk, rough with 
old age, much scrubbing, and innocent of any varnish or 
decoration. Both desk and high stool are attached to the floor. 

The rectory^ has been in recent years more or less repaired 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. Z7 

and done up generally, and I am glad to say the inhabitants 
have had the good taste to leave this curio untouched. 

I feel I know exactly why Mr. Russell retired to this little 
box when in the throes of sermon-production, for there was 
nothing to distract his attention, no wistful brown eyes of a 
favourite old hound to coax him from his work, no old hunter 
to be seen in the paddock enticing him out. 

There is so little I can write of this dear old parson that is 
not generally known, yet my book would be strangely in- 
complete without him, one of the finest specimens of the sporting 
parson that has ever trodden the earth, I imagine. 

There are, however, amongst the rising generation, a number 
of young people, I am told, to whom Parson Jack is only a 
name. For them I will briefly relate his life and sporting 
experiences, and it may interest some folk, as it does myself. 
Observing the characteristic tastes and temperaments of 
children, and following them through the years to man's estate 
and seeing what they lead to, how they bury or use their talents ; 
being with them, so to speak, from the cradle to the grave, is 
an engrossing pastime. 

The west seems to ^be the home of sporting parsons, even 
more than the north. At one time Mr. Russell owned hounds 
in Devonshire, and about a score of other clergymen did the 
same in the Bishop of Exeter's diocese alone, much to that 
gentleman's chagrin ; he remonstrated with several of them, 
Mr. Russell amongst the number, but they continued to hunt 
all the same. 

Mr. Phillpotts, who was at that time Bishop of Exeter, feared 
his clergy were not attending to their duties and were neglecting 
their parishes, " gadding about the country after dogs " ; this 
was his unsympathetic and ignorant — or perhaps meant to be 
annoying — way of expressing himself. Nevertheless, he allowed 
Mr. Russell was a fine preacher, and travelled some miles to 
hear him when the opportunity offered itself. 

Mr. Jack Russell was born in 1795 at Iddesleigh rectory, in 
Devonshire, his father being incumbent, keeping both pupils 
and hounds. One pony was set apart on purpose for the boys 
to ride out hunting and used as an incentive to work; the youth 
who could show the highest marks at the end of the week was 
allowed to ride it on the next hunting -day. 

38 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Mr. Russell, senior, like his son in late years, was a good 
preacher and a keen sportsman. History relates that the old 
gentleman's top-boots have been observed peeping out from 
beneath his cassock in church. 

It is evident from whom Mr. Jack Russell inherited his love 
for sport, which began to show itself very early in life. When 
at school at Tiverton he kept four and a half coiiple of hounds 
unknown to the authorities. An obliging blacksmith on the 
outskirts of the village kennelled and fed them with flesh. The 
local farmers and the blacksmith loj^ally held their tongues, and 
encouraged young Russell and his partner, a boy named Borey, 
in the enterprise. Many happy and healtliful half -holidays were 
spent with these hounds. 

Unfortunately, after a time the headmaster, named Dr. 
Richards, a very strict disciplinarian, got wind of the matter, 
and the boy Borey was expelled. Why this fate should have 
fallen on him and not young Russell I have never been given to 
understand ; however, the latter did not escape quite free. 
He was sent for to the master's study. There was no beating 
about the bush ; Dr. Richards began at once. 

" You keep hounds, don't you ? " 

" No, sir, I do not." 

" You dare to stand there and tell lies to me ? Your partner 
who shared them with you has confessed and been expelled." 

" I am not lying, sir. I have no hounds, for Borey stole 
them yesterday and sent them home to his father." 

" Well, that is lucky for you, or I should have expelled you 

This attitude of schoolmasters towards sport and healthy 
amusement for the boys has often surprised me. I firmly 
believe that if every big school, especially our public schools, 
had a pack of hounds which the boys could hunt and follow, on 
foot for choice, there would then be less of the bullying and vice 
we hear so much about when youths are congregated together. 
There would neither be the time nor the same inclination for 
mischief. At the end of the day they would be healthily 

Perhaps it was as well the hounds departed, for after they 
had gone Jack Russell turned his attention to work, ca]^,turing 
two prizes open to competition, an exhibition of £30 a year, and 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. 39 

a medal for elocution. This brought him into favour with Dr. 
Richards once more, but had the Doctor known the £30 went 
to buy a horse from the Rev. John Froude, he might have been 
less pleased. This Mr. Froude became a lifelong friend of Mr. 
Russell's, and I think exercised a gre^t deal of influence over 
him. He certainly encouraged him in opposing and defying his 
bishop. This Mr. Froude of Knowston was a well-known 
character. I shall have more to say of him latei". 

From school Mr. Russell went to Exeter College, Oxford, 
where he went in extensively for the noble art of self-defence, 
proving himself a rather formidable person to tackle ; his length 
of arm and habitual agility were in his favour, and he studied 
the art under a professional. 

One day a Cambridge man, in a weak moment, backed his 
University against Oxford at boxing. Mr. Russell was one of 
the three picked men chosen to represent Oxford. Cambridge 
went home with its tail between its legs. 

Hunting was another recreation indulged in while at college. 
The Duke of Beaufort's badger-pies hunted the Oxfordshire 
hills from the Heythrop at one season of the year, and the 
Badminton at another. When they met within reach of Oxford 
Mr. Russell seldom missed a day. He made a great friend of 
that faithful and valued servant of three Dukes of Beaufort, 
Will Long, who acted as their huntsman from 1826 to 1855, 
making twenty -nine years. He said he thought it remarkable, 
the way, after an hour in the kennels, Mr. Russell knew every 
hound by name and recognised them in the field next day. 

It used, I know, to puzzle his reverence that men could, and 
often did, hunt regularly with a pack and yet at the end of a 
season not know one hound from another. These are the men 
who hunt to ride, and care nothing for hound work, which was 
the joy of Mr. Russell's life. 

It was while at Oxford he met with the little fox-terrier 
that was to be the mother and founder of his far-famed breed 
of terriers. He met the little lady accompanying a milkman 
on his rounds. Mr. Russell at once made an offer for her, but 
the milkman was in no hurry to part A\ith his pet ; eventually 
the bidding became so brisk and tempting he succumbed, and 
" Trump " became the property of Mr. Russell. Her descen- 
dants are scattered all over the world. This breed is now 

40 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

always associated with Mr. Russell's name ; they are noted for 
their method in bolting foxes, never worrying them in their 
earths, or fighting one another underground, which is not an 
unheard-of thing for terriers to do. King Edward VII. greatly 
admired little " Trump," and had an oil-painting of her. 
^i Mr. Russell liked both his hounds and his terriers to throw 
their tongues freely, for the same reason that Lord Fitzhardinge 
liked to mount his hunt servants on roarers ; he then knew 
where they were ! He entered his terriers entirely to fox, so 
there was no fear of their running riot ; the faintest whimper 
from one of them and the whole pack of hounds would fly to it 
as quickly as to one of Mr. Russell's marvellous screams. 

It was delightful to get him well launched on the subject 
of his terriers, he was such an enthusiastic lover of them. 

Nearly everyone in the west country has some tale to tell of 
the " Parson Jack," as they call him ; many of the stories have 
oft been told, but no one wearies of them. 

So far, however, we have only accounted for his first pack of 
hounds when at school, aged sixteen. His second venture was 
when a curate at South Molton, this time to hunt the otter, 
so little known and inscrutable. He collected six couple of 
hounds, a scratch uneven lot from neighbouring friends. Not 
every hound will enter to otter, as Mr. Russell soon found out. 
His patience was often sorely tried, for he could not keep his 
hounds to the water ; they would wander off in search of fox, 
which had been their training. 

While on these long tramps with his disappointing hounds, 
he learnt the country thoroughly, and the knowledge was 
useful to him in later years when his hunting had to be done 
with a limited number of horses, enabling him to save many 
miles, and take short cuts even in the dark. When almost in 
despair of being able to do anything with them, he heard of a 
sporting farmer who had a useful scratch pack with which he 
hunted fox, hare, and otter, and that he was drafting some of 
them. Mr. Russell hurried off in hope of securing a hound or 
two accustomed to the taste of otter, that would teach and 
encourage the rest of his pack. He found just what he wanted, 
and for -the modest sum of £l brought home with him a useful 
hound that quickly taught the rest, after which he enjoyed six 
years of hunting with them. He had no kennels ; the neigh- 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. 41 

bouring farmers and cottagers gave them a welcome by their 

Unfortunately otter-hunting only lasts for about five months 
in the year, but there is no pleasanter way of spending the 
summer months, for you are led into strange unfrequented 
places far from the haunts of man, where Nature is seen at her 
best, in her most attractive forms. When the season ended 
Mr. Russell hunted a good deal with Mr. Froude, vicar of 
Knowstone, which place was only about ten miles from South 
Molton ; the country was mostly wild moor, heath and 

In 1826 Mr. Russell married and left South Molton, returning 
to the home of his youth as curate to his father. There being 
no hounds in the immediate vicinity, he soon collected some and 
blossomed into a M.F.H. ; he gathered together some useful 
workers, several having belonged to a Mr. Templer of Stover, 
whose methods were original, and who had wonderful control 
over his hounds. On blank days he would turn out a bagged 
one in front of his pack, but they were not allowed to touch 
him ; they used to stand round their master with his watch in 
hand ; when he said, " One, two, and away ! " off they flew. 
Most of the hounds glued their eyes on their master's face until 
the given moment, but one fixed his eyes on his watch, and the 
moment it was shut with a snap was off in pursuit. Mr. Templer 
kept about twenty foxes for blank days in a couple of big yards. 
Each fox had a long chain attached to it so that it could take 
plenty of exercise, being occasionally assisted by a tandem 
whip, gently applied to keep them in good form and wind. 
One fox had been turned out about thirty times and quite 
understood the game ; he was rewarded by a fresh rabbit 
for his supper at the end of the day. I have been told the 
fox enjoyed the fun, giving them plenty of galloping. The 
hounds must indeed have been well disciplined, for when the fox 
had done enough and refused to run any more, they would stand 
round him with mouths watering and not touch, for this fox, 
when he ceased to find amusement in the game, refused to go 
any further. The Master must have been a hard rider to be up 
in time always to see that his favourites did not transgress. 

This wonderful pack of dwarf foxhounds was sold in 1826, 
I believe, finding new homes all over the country. Mr. Russell, 

42 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

knowing their hunting powers, wished to collect a few of them, 
end succeeded, eventually having one of the finest hunting -packs 
in the west of England. 

It was from Mr. Templer that Mr. Russell said he learnt 
much of his craft. 

Considering the habitual low state of this latter sporting 
parson's finances, it is surprising the amount of hunting he 
managed to enjoy. He said he was obliged to ride anything he 
could get, and his horses had to work hard as well as their master, 
for there was no hack to carry him to the meet, no dogcart 
waiting to bring him home, and he used to ride long distances 
to meets, occasionally as many as thirty miles. 

Three hunters were the most Mr. Russell could allow himself. 
At one time he owned three exceptionally useful gees, " Billy," 
only a cob of fourteen hands, clever and sturdy, never tired, 
always game ; his owner said no money would tempt him to 
part with the little horse ; " Cottager " and " Monkey " were 
bad-tempered, and in consequence not considered desirable 
mounts by most people. The former horse would try and 
snatch at his rider's boots as he jogged along to the meet, only 
forgetting his temper during the run. These horses carried 
their owner for several seasons, and he rode twelve stone. 

His staff, consisted of himself as huntsman and whip, unless 
an occasional friend whipped for him. His only regular help was 
a rough youth who worked in the garden and stables ; he rejoiced 
in the name of " Sam." His master coached him well, giving him 
instructions in the science of hunting, as to what should be done 
under certain circumstances, such as starting a fresh fox in 
covert, etc. Sam enjoyed this catechism, and proved an 
intelligent and valuable assistant. 

The appearance of his pack troubled Mr. Russell not at all, 
so long as they could hunt ; and some of his mounts have been 
little more tlian Exmoor ponies, on which he has started away 
before daylight and returned after dark. The only person I 
have ever heard of who could equal Mr. Russell in endurance of 
long days and fatigues was old Sir Tatton Sykes, the Yorkshire- 
man, but he was mounted on expensive horses, while Mr. Russell 
often had to content himself with screws. One of the reasons 
why Parson Jack got so much work out of his horses was due to 
the care he took of them ; in the height of his pleasure he always 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. 43 

remembered his mount and saved him as much as possible, both 
in wind and legs. 

In 1832 Mr. Russell went to Swymbridge, near his wife's 
old home, and spent forty -five years of his life there with two 
parishes and churches to look after, receiving the handsome 
income of £180 a year — and yet I have heard that " a labourer 
is worthy of his hire." Out of this £180 a year a curate had to 
be provided. 

During those forty odd years he worked wonders in the 
parishes. From one service per Sunday it grew to four, the 
church was restored, and new schools built. 

The Gypsies were especially fond of him ; he always be- 
friended them, and would not allow them to be hounded from 
place to place if he could help it, and would always allow them 
to camp on his land ; they much appreciated the way he trusted 
them. When the King of the Gypsies felt that his days were 
numbered, he gave instructions that a certain charm he had 
worn for years should be given to his reverence, as a token of 
gratitude for many kindnesses, also his much-treasured rat- 
catching belt, and expressed the wish that he should be buried 
in Swymbridge churchyard and the service taken by Parson 

Mr. Russell used to ask his friends for some of their cast-off 
garments for the Gypsies. When there was going to be a 
wedding amongst them they went to him to see if he had any 
clothes to make them smart for the occasion ; he seldom failed 
them. He has even supplied the ring sometimes. They 
treated him, and looked upon him, as their best friend. 

There is a story well known in the west, though possibly not 
elsewhere, that is typical of the man. 

Riding home from hunting one evening, as he passed the 
blacksmith's forge in his village, the owner came out saying a 
Gypsy who was standing by the forge wanted to buy his black 
mare, but said he had no money with him. What did the 
parson advise him to do ? Would it be wise to let the mare go ? 
Probably the man would disappear and never be heard of 
again . 

Mr. Russell looked at the Gypsy for a moment, then said, 
" I think I know your face ; you married when camping on my 
land, did you not ? " 

44 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" No, sir, it was my brother." 

" Well," said Mr. Russell, " if I stand for you will you come 
and pay ? Do you mean to pay ? " 

" Yes, your honour." 

Turning to the smithy. Parson Jack said, " Let him have the 
mare ; if he does not pay I will." 

A week or two later, when again passing the forge, he asked 
if the Gypsy had paid. 

" Yes sir, every penny, and many thanks to you." 

It was these kindly acts that endeared Mr. Russell to people ; 
nobody who went to him for advice and help was ever sent 
empty away. Everybody knew he was not well off in worldly 
goods, and I think his generosity out of what he possessed, and 
the way he trusted people, made them straight in return. 

I cannot help feeling that if I had volunteered to stand 
surety for the Gypsy, the blacksmith would have sworn he 
had never received a penny, then have collected the amount 
from me and the purchaser, and appeared aggrieved with us 

For about two years, when at Swymbridge, Mr. Russell gave 
up his hounds in consequence of the way he was worried 
financially and morally. Some of his kind relations and friends 
never ceased telling him he was on the high road to ruin ; that 
he neglected his duties, etc. 

He felt very lonely and miserable without his hounds, and 
when one day he was told six and a half couple were again 
standing in his kennel, a gift from his old friend Harry Fellows, 
he was overjoyed, especially when he received a note saying 
they were a draft from the Vine and all were over distemper. 
This was a temptation too great to be resisted ; the beauties 
looked so comfortable and at home in the kennels, and he was 
happy once more. 

People who have no love for animals and sport may feel 
impatient with those who do care for these things, not being 
able to understand the exhilaration of the chase, the joy of the 
country, and the intelligence of our faitliful four-footed com- 
panions, who try so hard to please us and are so much more 
dependable and faithful than many human beings. They ask 
so little from us and bestow so generously and plentifully of 
all they have to give. 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. 45 

But again poor Mr. Russell found himself obliged to part 
with his treasures, for much the same reason as before. The 
hounds had actually left the kennels, starting for new homes, 
when Mrs. Russell could not stand her husband's look of dejec- 
tion and persuaded him to keep them, pointing out to him that 
he had quite as much right to some pleasure as other people ; 
so back to the kennels they went again, and he hunted hounds 
without interruption until 1871, when he sold them to Mr. 
Henry Villebois in Norfolk. 

A story is told, and well known in the west country, of 
Bishop Phillpotts, who, when touring his diocese, came across a 
pack of hounds in full cry, while amongst the field were such a 
number of black coats he thought there must have been some 
epidemic in the neighbourhood to account for so many men 
being in mourning. He conversed with his chaplain on the 
subject ; he, being a wise man, held his tongue, and everybody 
enjoyed themselves, the Bishop in his own particular way, the 
black-coated gentlemen in their own particular way. I do 
not know about the chaplain, by the way ; he may have 
been longing to join the black coats disappearing in the 

Mr. Villebois, who bought Mr. Russell's hounds, introduced 
the old sportsman to the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.) . 
He became a great favourite at Sandringham ; both the Prince 
and Princess of Wales liked him. He was staying there in 1873 
and danced the old year out and the new year in with beautiful 
Princess Alexandra. The Prince had told him to bring a 
sermon with him ; this he did, and preached in the pretty little 
church in the grounds of Sandringham, close to the house. 
The sermon gave pleasure to His Royal Highness, who compli- 
mented the sporting parson on his eloquence and charm of 

He stayed with his Royal host and hostess again in 1876. 
It was Mr. Russell who acted as pilot to the Prince when first 
he hunted with the Devon and Somerset stag -hounds, and a 
better man could not have been chosen. One of Mr. Russell's 
most cherished possessions was a tie-pin which the Prince had 
given to him, and put into his scarf with his own hands. 

I am one of the people who regret the passing of the Sporting 
Parsons ; they were fine, manly, sky -pilots. Far be it from me 

46 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

to say there are not many great and good clergymen now who 
are not sportsmen. What grieves me is that so many earnest 
and good men should have so little power to attract or hold our 
interest, A short time ago I was discussing this very subject 
v.'ith an ex-master of hounds, who has seen a good deal of the 
world, has done his bit for his country, and will now carry the 
marks of it with him to the end of his days. He said, " The 
old Sporting Parson was a dignified man one could respect and 
admire. The Roman Catholic priests I respect and admire ; they 
are dignified, well-educated, often intelligent, and social assets ; 
but man}^ of the English Church clergy are such crawling 
creatures and so ill-educated and childish, if I get into the train 
with one I feel I must apologise for him, and when I bid him 
' Good-bye ' I feel I ought to speak to him as if he is a child and 
say to him, ' Ta-ta ; say good-bye to the lady nicely and run 
away and play robbers.' " 

It is the fashion to-day, as I have already said, to run down 
sporting parsons, and undoubtedly there have been specimens 
who have brought them as a class into disrepute, but no one 
could ever say they were a crawling lot, or wish to bid them 
" Ta-ta." 

In 1879 Lord Poltimore offered the living of Black Torring- 
ton to Mr. Russell ; this meant £500 a year and a good home, 
so though he felt leaving Swymbridge, the need of cash neces- 
sitated it. When he said good-bye to his old neighbours and 
friends they presented him with a cheque for £800, all his 
parishioners and friends, including the Prince of Wales, having 
subscribed. It was presented to him in the Duke of Bedford's 
House in Eaton Square, and many kindly things were said about 
the work he had done in his parishes, and of his Christian 

At Black Torrington Mr. Russell fixed himself up very 
comfortably, papered and painted the old rectory, built new 
stables at considerable cost, and just as they were finished a 
fire reduced them to ashes, and unfortunately two good horses 
and a couple of valuable terriers shared the same fate. The 
rat-catcher's charm had not brought him much luck. Once 
more his financial calculations were thrown out ; but he was not 
a grumbler, he squared his shoulders and bought a horse — and 
a good one, very cheap, being, as he expressed it, " speechless 


[Faciiiyp. 46. 


' 7-~»,-S«.l« 

^^'1 h 


-I t 




Fiiciiiij ji. 17 

The Rev. Jack Russell, M.F.H. and M.O.H. 47 

in one eye " — and before long collected a small pack of harriers 
with which to hunt the surrounding country. 

When first Parson Jack began hunting he met with some 
opposition amongst his neighbours, but, being fairly smart with 
the gloves, the moment anyone interfered with his hounds he 
settled it in true old English style, and soon there was no more 
interference ; those who wished to quarrel with him soon became 
ardent followers. 

Mr. Russell was only a few years at Black Torrington, and 
died there, but was, of course, well known over the whole 

What personality the man had will be understood from the 
way the smallest things that had ever belonged to him are still 
treasured. A friend of mine has in his possession, and greatly 
prizes, the old boot-jack his reverence used ; it is now, or was 
when I saw it a little while ago, badly worm-eaten, alas ! 

In a cottage I was shown a " piture " (photograph) of Mr. 
Russell standing in the place of honour on the fluffy mat, beside 
the family Bible. The owner said he would part with all his 
possessions sooner than " the passon's piture." 

What made this man so loved ? It was his big, good heart, 
and — it is a very big and — because he was what in those days 
was the first requisite for gentlepeople — a courtier. 

His wife was a Miss Bury, one of an old Devonshire family ; 
she died some years before he did. He had been much attached 
to her, and felt her death painfully. 

It was at Black Torrington he wrote his sermons in the 
" powder cupboard." 

I wish he had written a diary ; there was so much in his life 
that was interesting, but he kept no record of his doings. He 
had a wonderful memory and was an entertaining companion ; 
down in the neighbourhood of his old home and in sporting 
circles people are never tired of telling one stories of Parson Jack. 

Generally speaking, £ s. d. makes the wheels of life turn 
smoothly and helps to build up fame ; but money played no part 
in building up Mr. Russell's, for he was always in the lowest 
water, riding anything he could get ; and it speaks well for his 
pluck and management that he was able to hunt and enjoy life 
to a ripe old age, thanks, no doubt, greatly to his frugal life. 
He always preferred bread and cheese and cider to the most 

48 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

carefully prepared and costly banquet. He would never sit up 
late at night, and was usually up with the dawn. 

Not many men at the age of eighty-two can ride a horse 
twenty -five miles home after a day's stag-hunting. He always 
seemed insensible to fatigue, like old Sir Tatton Sykes, whose 
feats of endurance were so remarkable. 

All the four years at Black Torrington the poor old sports- 
man's health was faihng, and in 1883, with kind people about 
him, he died. At his own request he was buried at Swymbridge, 
by the side of his wife, in the parish he had shepherded for forty 
odd years. 

At least a thousand people attended his funeral ; beautiful 
flowers came from far and near, but some of the most touching 
sights were amidst the cottagers, who came weeping with baskets 
and aprons full of flowers to shower on to his coffin in the grave. 
All sorts and sizes were there — lords and ladies, horse-dealers, 
Gypsies, rat-catchers, old people, young children — all anxious 
to pay a last tribute to the parson who preached moving sermons 
from the pulpit, and still more moving sermons by everyday 
life, of tolerance, love, and charity for all men. 

It was remarked a few years ago that there was nothing in 
the church at Torrington to commemorate his years there. 
The idea was no sooner mooted than all that was wanted was 
collected, and now a brass is put up in the church to the memory 
of the Rev. Jack Russell by his many hunting and sporting 
parishioners, who cared for him more than a little. 

Mr. Russell was not a believer in the silent method of hunt- 
ing hounds, I am glad to say. He liked to hear the cheery voice 
of a huntsman better than the rating of a whipper-in. He could 
carry his hounds through a fresh fox or two without changing 
from the hunted one, and this by his voice alone, crying, " Come 
forward ! Come forward ! "—that wonderful voice of his. 

Much of the pleasure of hunting in covert is lost under the 
silent system, and I think there can be no doubt about which the 
hounds like, best. 

Chapter V 

The Rev. Hugh Palisser Costobadie — What his Friends called Him — His Fine 
Physique — Required Weight-Carriers — An Awkward Colt — An Adventurous 
Ride — A Short Cut in a Dogcart — An Impossible Situation — How he Circum- 
vented it — His Childhood — Harrow and College Days — He and a Friend as Use- 
ful Boxers — " To Let, a Thrashing Machine" — Accepts the Living of Hallerton 
—A Remarkable Record — Chaplain at Coblentz — Kindness of German Royalty 
— Their Presents to H<m — Mr, Costobadie is Surprised at German Manners 
— He Admired their Hardiness — A Court Scandal— What the Empress Thought 
— The Empress Augusta's Advice — A Year's Holiday — Church Innovation — 
Some Bad Luck — A Windfall — A Roadway Strewn with Banknotes — A Good 
Example in Stable Management — His Kindness to the Poor — A Railway 
Porter in Church — Rev. Henry Costobadie Hunts in Pink — His Views on 
Divorce — The Rev. J. W. King — A Racehorse Owner — His Yorkshire 
Trainer, John Osborne — His Reverence's Nom-de-plume and his Colours — 
Some Anxious Moments — Sir Frederick Johnson's Bet — A Sensational St* 
Leger — Osborne Telegraphs for Orders — None Received — Uses his Own Dis- 
cretion — All Ends Well — A Winner of Three Classics — Has a Row with his 
Bishop — His Letter to the Bishop of Lincoln — The Vicar Seldom on a Race- 
course — Keen Shooting Man — His Death. 

THERE are still plenty of people alive who have hunted with 
the Rev. Hugh Pahsser Costobadie in the Billesden 
country, or with the Quorn and Mr. Fernie's. 
Like so many of the sporting parsons of those days, the 
Reverend " Costo," as his friends called him, was a splendidly - 
made man, six feet four inches in height, and proportionately 
powerful, which gave him an imposing appearance when sur- 
pUced and in the pulpit, but was not an altogether unmixed 
blessing when it came to finding mounts capable of carrying him 
across the big pastures and stiff fences of the shires. 

Indeed, he found the problem so difficult that he character- 
istically decided to go to the heart of the matter, and breed 
weight-carriers for himself if he could not buy them. He was 
about thirty when he came to this decision, and at once began 
collecting a small stud in the paddocks around the rectory at 
Hallerton. From some half-dozen brood-mares he sought to 
produce his ideal hunter that should combine blood, bone, and 

50 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

pace. On the whole, he was fairly successful, but soon made the 
discovery that so many others have also made — that it was an 
expensive amusement, and well calculated to lead to financial 
difficulties ; so he gave up his stud with many regrets. 

Anyhow, it was a courageous effort and just like the man, 
for all through his life one finds this tough spirit that always 
refused to turn from a project without a tenacious struggle. 

Here is an instance of determination that even advancing 
years could not weaken. One day, when well into his 78th year, 
he rode a half -broken colt to Kibworth station, intending to 
send it by rail to his eldest son at Grendon, in Northampton- 
shire. The colt gave him a very rough ride over the five miles 
to the station, and when the porters tried to make it enter the 
box the^ was a considerable commotion. Mr. Costobadie 
threw himself into the struggle with enthusiasm, but without 
success, and after a long tussle they were forced to the 
conclusion that it was impossible to send the colt by rail at all. 
However, he had made up his mind that it should go to Grendon 
that day, so he remounted without further ado, and set off to 
ride the whole forty miles — no small undertaking at his age, even 
on a pleasant hack, let alone on a trying brute like that, that had 
not yet exhausted all its tricks, by any means. About half-way 
to Grendon they came to a brook that crossed the road in the 
form of a shallow ford, with a plank footbridge at the side for 
foot people. At the time the brook was in flood, and nothing 
would induce the colt to face it ; more tussles followed, without 
success, but again the old Vicar was not to be denied, and, sur- 
prising as it sounds, he succeeded in getting the colt across the 
narrow plank bridge, that was not more than eighteen inches 
wide and only protected by a wobbly handrail at one side. 
Being about four feet above the water, it was one of those feats 
that sound so easy when contemplated from an armchair, but 
really provide some rather grim moments in practice. It was 
all in keeping that when the undauntable Vicar arrived at Gren- 
don he stoutly declared that he was conscious of no undue 
fatigue whatever. 

There is another story about him in the same vein, but this 
time in connection with a dogcart. While out driving one day, 
he sought to discover a short cut between Hallerton and Bowden 
by leaving the high road and plunging boldly down a bridle-path. 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 51 

There are few more fruitful sources of adventure than exploring 
bridle-paths in dogcarts, but when the vehicle is drawn by a 
tandem, as it was in this case, it seems rather like challenging 
fate. On the whole, he was lucky, for the worst that befell him 
was to come to a place that was just too narrow to allow the 
dogcart to pass through. Perhaps to the acquiescent souls of a 
later generation this would have been a small matter, to be set 
right by turning cheerfully back and going by the road. Not so 
with the Vicar, however. He unharnessed the horses, tied them 
to a tree, took one wheel off the dogcart, man-handled it through 
the narrow place, re-harnessed the horses, and finished the 
journey in triumph to his own satisfaction. 

Turn back, indeed ! 

There seems to me something symbolical in the high, un- 
compromising stocks worn by the country gentlemen of those 
days, that permitted no weak vacillation, but held the head 
always severely to the front. A stiff-necked generation, with- 
out a doubt. It reminds me of the incident at the Battle of the 
Alma, when some of our troops found themselves drawn up 
within range of a dropping fire from the heights, which they 
could not return, but, although they were not in action at the 
time, they never dreamed of moving back a few hundred yards, 
preferring to sit still and lose men. Brave days, no doubt ; 
but times change, and I fear the officer responsible would be 
promptly court-martialled in these practical times. 

The Reverend " Costo " was born at Wensley rectory, in 
Yorkshire, in 1804, and began to show a love for horseflesh at 
an early age. While still a tiny child he was often found watch- 
ing the horses at exercise in the early mornings at a well-known 
training stable not far off. He was at Harrow with Lord Pal- 
merston and Sir Robert Peel, and then went to St. John's College, 
Cambridge, where it has been wrongly stated that he was con- 
temporary with Charlotte Bronte's father. This little slip 
appeared in that charming book, " The Annals of the Billesden 
Hunt," compiled by the rector's son. Captain F. Palisser Costo- 
badie, who has very kindly allowed me to use several stories of 
his father that appear in it. The mistake about Bronte arose, 
he tells me, through Bronte's father having been at the same 
college, but having left shortly before Mr. Costobadie went up. 

While at Cambridge, Mr. Costobadie had a friend called 

52 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Wyld, who was a very powerful man, and the two were regarded 
by their friends as being rather useful boxers. On one occasion 
the two held a street in a Town and Gown row with great success 
against a crowd. After this, Mr. Wyld became known as the 
" Thrashing Machine," and someone put a notice up on his 
door, " To Let— A Thrashing Machine " ! 

It was to be expected that Mr. Costobadie's love of horses 
would draw him to Newmarket Heath pretty frequently, and 
he was a famiUar figure there all the time he was at Cam- 
bridge ; of course, in those days undergraduates were allowed 
to keep their own horses if they felt so inclined. 

Parson Costobadie held the living at Hallerton from 1838 
to 1843, and it was while he was there that he set up the remark- 
able record, that has since become something of a classic, which 
consisted of riding forty miles, taking four services, jumping 
four gates to save the trouble of opening them, shooting a couple 
of wild duck, and arriving home with them hanging to his 
saddle after dark. 

In 1850 he was offered, and accepted, the British chaplaincy 
at Coblentz, which he held for six years, during which time he 
experienced a great deal of kindness and hospitality at the hands 
of Prince William of Prussia, who afterwards became King of 
Prussia, and Emperor William I. of Germany. His Consort, 
Augusta, nee the Princess of Saxe-Weinmr, was also very kind, 
being strongly pro -British. Things British were very popular 
with all classes of the country. The Princess went out of her 
way to show her interest in the British colony, and was a regular 
attendant at the chapel, where she expressed the wish that it 
should be made to look " as much like an English church as 
possible." She also presented the chaplain with a handsome pair 
of silver candlesticks for the altar. 

It is hard to realise that all this was happening within a life's 
span of to-day ; but so it was, and it shows how public senti- 
ment will veer under the gentle suasion of its press and political 
leaders — a trait not peculiar to Germany by any means. His- 
tory does not give a very edifying picture of life in the numerous 
small German courts of the period, but the court of Saxe- 
Weimar seems to have been the exception to the rule, for Mr. 
Costobadie brought away very happy memories of its simple 
refinement and its cultured life. He also brought back to 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 53 

England with him many tokens of Royal friendship, including a 
fine portrait of the Queen Augusta presented to him by one of the 
Royal family, but he could not help being surprised at the curious 
manners of the German people at that time, even among the 
upper classes of the state, especially at table. But, after all, 
such things are matters of custom, and for all we know, the 
good chaplain may often have hurt the feelings of Saxe- 
Weimar hostesses by failing to sound as if he were enjoying his 
soup. He always stood up for the Germans as lovers of cold 
water, after seeing several hardy spirits regularly break the ice 
and bathe in the river throughout the winter, much as certain 
hardy ones are reputed to bathe in the Serpentine on Christmas 
Day every year. 

Hohenzollern Princes have never been remarkable for con- 
stancy to their consorts, and stimulating court gossip was 
provided by Frederick, the present Emperor's father, on the 
occasion of a state ball in honour of his bride's birthday, 
the Princess Royal of England. She discovered a magnificent 
pearl necklace in the Prince's apartments just before the ball, 
and naturally thought it was a present for herself, so pretended 
to know nothing about it, fully prepared to be amazed and 
delighted at the proper time. As it turned out, she was amazed, 
but not delighted, for during the ball she saw the necklace adorn- 
ing the neck of one of the most famous court beauties. Her 
mortification was so great that the poor Princess drove off in 
haste and tears to the palace of the Empress Augusta, to whom 
she complained bitterly. The Empress failed to be as sym- 
pathetic as the Princess expected, and merely remarked that if 
she took such matters to heart she should never have married 
a Hohenzollern. 

At the end of his chaplaincy the Reverend Costobadie came 
home and enjoyed a year's holiday in the Isle of Man, fishing 
and shooting to his heart's content, before returning to the placid, 
healthy life of a country rector, surrounded by loving friends 
and relations. He never hunted in pink, preferring a neat 
black coat, and taking particular pride in the polish of his top- 
boots, which always shone like glass. He was a moderate High 
Churchman and distinctly orthodox, one of his favourite say- 
ings being, " All things work together for our good," a belief 
that, combined with a sound digestion, should insure a long life 

54 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

to anyone. He preached in a black gown, as was then custom- 
ary, but was one of the first to adopt the more cheerful white 
surplice, which was regarded as a frisky innovation by many. 

No sooner had the ecclesiastical conscience of England been 
reconciled to the surplice than a fresh innovation came in the 
shape of more cheerful Church music, and this, too, he whole- 
heartedly introduced into his own church. 

He did not preach extempore, but his sermons were well 
reasoned and delivered with obvious sincerity. He was always 
careful to cut out anything that could be called " high flown," 
and was equally careful to avoid expressing views that would 
sound extreme to any of his hearers. 

" Every jockey rides best in his own saddle, and I preach 
best in my own pulpit," was one of his sayings, and he had every 
reason to be proud of his beautiful old three-decker, for it is 
one of the most exquisite of its kind in the country. In 1844 
Mr. Henry Green, an old hunting friend, offered him the living of 
King's Norton. Mr. Costobadie accepted it, and held it for forty- 
three years, although he did not live there until his return from 
Coblentz in '57. Soon after this he had the bad luck to lose 
a good deal of money, and was not able to hunt as regularly as 
in years gone by, but he still managed to see a good deal of 
sport, mounted on horses that carried him well enough, even 
though they were not always much to look at. 

Things began to improve after a time, and, in 1869, a wind- 
fall enabled him to settle up with his long-suffering tradesmen. 
When this auspicious day arrived, he sallied out on horseback 
to the town, his hat stuffed full of banknotes with which to 
gladden the hearts of the butcher, baker, and saddle-makers. 
He was so prompt with his settlements that most of his friends 
had not even heard of the windfall, and he created quite a sen- 
sation in' the main street of Leicester when he took off his hat to 
a lady and strewed the roadway with notes that flew in all 
directions. As his hard-up-ness was well known, banknotes 
were about the last thing anyone expected to see issuing from 
his hat. More horses now became possible, and it was not long 
before the vicarage stabling became inadequate, so that the coal- 
shed had to be converted into a loose box. 

He was one of the first to come to the conclusion that it was 
unwise to wash horses' legs after hunting, a contention around 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 55 

which controversy continued to rage for a long time, but which 
has now been accepted almost unanimously. 

His happy, companionable nature won him many friends, 
among whom were the " Bishop of Skeffington," father of the 
Reverend J. R. Davenport, and Mr. de G. Davenport, the well- 
known sporting correspondent. Mr. Costobadie used to say 
jokingly, " Never trust parsons, lawyers, or doctors." 

Captain Palisser Costobadie, in his book of the Billesden 
Hunt, says his father was very tender-hearted, and would not 
refuse work to any who came to him seeking his help ; like 
the parson who, being anxious to assist a man out of work, but 
having nothing for him to do, pointed to a heap of stones in the 
corner of his kitchen garden, and told him to remove them. 
When that was carried out, and the man came and asked 
what next he could do, the vicar, still unable to think of 
any suitable work, said, " Oh, well, wheel them all back 
again " ! 

Those were the days when dinner was eaten at the unright- 
eous hour of three or four o'clock in the afternoon. Once, after 
an early day's hunting, two sportsmen were invited to stay and 
dine with one of the hospitable and popular M.F.H.'s in the 
Quorn country. They gladly accepted the invitation, and so 
thoroughly enjoyed themselves that it was dark before they 
mounted their horses to return home. In consequence of the 
dark, and other reasons, they decided to leave it to their steeds 
to take them safely home. Faithfully and steadily the horses 
fulfilled the duty imposed on them, but, unfortunately, the riders 
had mounted the wrong horses, so each arrived at the home of 
his friend instead of his own ! 

A favourite spaniel of the vicar's used to cause him some 
annoyance by coming into church during service. Whenever 
this happened he always stopped his discourse, and, leaning 
out of the three-decker, would say, " John, take out that dog, 
will you ? " This reminds me of an old clerk I used to know, 
who considered himself an important part of the church service, 
and that the prayers were not complete without his loud 
" U-MEN " at the end of each. His son, who was a railway 
porter by profession, came to stay with him, and went to church 
on Sunday ; during the sermon he fell asleep, and as he showed 
signs of falling off his seat his father nudged him. The youth 

56 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

immediately jumped up, and shouted at the top of his voice, 
" All change here for York ! " 

There are countless stories of the kindness of Parson Costo- 
badie to his parishioners, to whom he used to trundle wheel- 
barrow loads of coal, and was more than once seen hastening 
to some sick person's house with his own dinner between tv,^o 
plates, it having occurred to him that the particular dish might 
prove tempting to some invalid. He never talked religion to 
them out of church, unless they expressed a desire that he should 
do so, as he believed that it was easier to get at people via their 
*' Little Marys " than by tracts. During the last days of his 
life, on hearing that hounds were passing through the village, 
he asked to be lifted to the window to " have one last look at 
the beauties." He died in 1887, aged eighty-three. Long life 
is so often given to those sportsmen who live frugally and in 
the open air. These hardy specimens of manhood have given 
us many fine Empire-making sons. Most of the sons of the 
sporting parsons that I have known have turned out well, 
giving a good account of themselves, and been blessed with 
fiine physique and health. His Reverence's elder brother, the 
Reverend Henry Palisser de Costobadie, was three years his 
senior, and the famous Bosworth gorse was situated in the six 
hundred acres of glebe land attached to his living in Leicestershire. 
Henry was admittedly one of the handsomest men of his day, and, 
unlike his brother, sported a pink coat. His good looks and a 
charming manner made him a great favourite with everyone. 
He is said to be one of the last parsons to announce hunting 
appointments from the pulpit, a custom that was continued up 
to quite recent times at Porlock, in the Devon and Somerset 
stag -hound country. There is also a legend about him always 
having the church bells rung when hounds passed through the 
village, but I will not vouch for this. He must have been quite 
a bold thinker for those times, as he believed that divorce was a 
good thing for couples who could not get on together. " If 
parsons could untie as easily as they tie, instead of being engaged 
one day a week we should be hard at it all seven," was one of 
his frequently expressed convictions. 

If it came to hazarding an opinion as to the sporting parsons 
who have held pride of place in their particular sports, I think 
that I should say that Parson Jack Russell was the most famous 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 57 

hunting parson, the Rev. Cecil Legard the best known for 
hunting and racing together, while the Rev. J. W. King un- 
doubtedly leads the van for racing alone, although he was only- 
seen three times on a race-course, and his real name as an ov;ner 
was little known to the general public until his sensational St. 
Leger, which he won with " Apology " and was followed by an 
altercation with his Bishop. 

He was vicar of Ashby Launde in Lincolnshire, and inherited 
his racing stable from his brother, and before him his father. 
Colonel King. In later years he kept a curate to do most of the 
parish v/ork and devoted his time to the care of his stud and 
estate, with Mr. John Osborne as his trainer. 

Mr. King did not bet, and, as I have already indicated, he 
was seldom on a course, but it is questionable if any other 
parson has ever had such a list of big wins to his credit. He 
was a great believer in the national value of the stock he bred, 
as is shown in his not very penitent letter to his Bishop, which 
I give further on. For many years he bred regularly for sale, 
" Moonbeam " and " Idolatry " being two of his best brood- 

Mr. John Osborne, the veteran trainer of all the parson's 
best-known horses, is still alive, I am glad to say, and celebrated 
his eighty -fifth birthday sometime ago. It is to him that I am 
indebted for many details connected with Mr. King's racing 
career, which might otherwise have remained unrecorded ; and 
the photograph of Mr. King has not to my knowledge ever 
before been published. 

" Brilliant " was the first horse the vicar sent to the Os- 
bornes : that was in 1851. He was a nice-looking colt and the 
last son of " Bessy Bedlam." In the following year " Incense " 
and others came to join him. After this the Osbornes, father 
and son, had all the vicar's horses to train that were not 

Mr. King ran his horses under the name of " Mr. Launde," 
and his colours were inedium blue body, with red sleeves and 
cap, registered at Wetherby's in the 'fifties. 

Taking all things into consideration, there has been no more 
sensational St. Leger during the last sixty years than that won 
by the parson's " Apology." Everyone at Doncastcr was 
excited at the prospect of the meeting between " George 

58 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Frederick," the winner of the Derby, and " Apology," the 
winner of the One Thousand Guineas and the Oaks. 

Both horses arrived at the scene of action, apparently in the 
best of condition, but the night before the race, " George 
Frederick " owned by Mr, Cartwright was found to be lame 
and therefore scratched. Next morning a further excitement was 
provided by the rumour that after "Apology's" gallop on the 
Tuesday morning her leg had filled, and she had been standing 
all night with her leg in a bucket of cold water. 

Parson King was ill at home, and John Osborne wired the 
news of her lameness and awaited instructions anxiously as to 
whether she should start or not. During the morning the 
rumour got about that the vicar had wired that as all Yorkshire 
had backed his favourite mare she was to give them a nm for 
their money at all costs ; but this was incorrect, for as a matter 
of fact, Osborne never received the vicar's wire until the race 
had been run, and brilliantly won, by " Apology." Not 
receiving the wire in time, he had used his own discretion in the 
matter, and while Sir Frederick Johnson was laying 100 to 
1 against her, had decided that she should run. As she showed 
no signs of lameness in the preliminary canter she rapidly 
regained her place in the betting, and finally started at 4 to 1. 

John Osborne, who rode her, won the race in much the same 
fashion as when he won the race for Lord St. Vincent on " Lord 
Clifden " in 1863. As a jockey he was never in a hurry, 
either in a short or long race. A 100 to 1 had been offered 
against " Lord Clifden " during the early part of the race, so 
far was he behind, and in the case of " Apology " her backers 
were not at all happy about her position in the race for a long 
time. Osborne hated a making of the running mission, but his 
style, even if not always agreeable to backers, gave him a fine 
opportunity of seeing all that the others were doing. 

Here is a record of " Apology's " classic wins for 1874. 
There may have been parsons interested in, or owners of race- 
horses before and since his time, but this must surely be a 
record : 

NEWMARKET. The One Thousand Guineas. 

Mr. Launde's " Apology " J. Osborne 1 . 5 to 2 

Mr. Lefevre's " La Coureuse " Fordham 2. 3 to 1 

Lord Falmouth's " Blanchefleur " F.Archer 3. 10 to 1 

Nine ran, " Apology " favourite. 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 59 

EPSOM. The Oaks. 

Mr, Launde's " Apology " J. Osborne 1. 5 to 2 

Mr. Lefevre's " Miss Toto " Fordham 2. 7 to 4 

Mr. East's " Lady Patricia " J. Goater 3. 5 to 1 

Eleven ran. " Miss Toto " favourite. 

DONCASTER. The St. Leger. 

Mr. Launde's " Apology " J. Osborne 1. 4 to 1 

Sir R. Buckeley's " Leolinus " T. Osborne 2. 7 to 1 

Mr. R. Marshall's " Trent " T.Cannon 3. 5 to 1 

Thirteen ran. 

The Rev. J. W. King was in another interesting St. Leger 
just ten years earUer. In 1864, when " Blair Atholl " won, he 
had a horse called the " Minor " which beat " Blair Atholl " a 
few weeks previously in the Great Yorkshire Stakes with 
J. Osborne riding. The race was a desperate one, " Blair Atholl " 
being beaten by a head. Perhaps " Blair Atholl " was short 
of a gallop or two at the time of the Great Yorkshire Stakes. 
In fact, it must have been one of those flukes that are not 
uncommon in racing, for the " Minor " was soundly beaten by 
" Blair Atholl " in the St. Leger. The " Minor " was not even 
in the first three. 

The vicar's 1874 St. Leger, although won under the assumed 
name, aroused the ecclesiastical ire of his Bishop. Fame had 
effectually swept aside the thin disguise afforded by the " Mr. 
Launde," and it was evidently felt in high places that'his racing 
tastes were unbecoming. 

In due course his Bishop wrote him letters that I have been 
unable to trace, but the following is the vicar's sturdy reply, 
which serves well enough to give us an idea of what the Bishop 
had been saying : 

" From the owner of ' Apology ' to the Bishop oj Lincoln. 

" My Lord, 

" I observe with pain that your Lordship has thought 
fit to publish your last letter to myself. Your Lordship is 
aware that I was unable at the time to reply in person, being 
disabled by an accident which has confined me to my bed, but 
the publication of your Lordship's letter compels me at whatever 
cost to do so now. 

6o Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" Permit me in the first place to express my deep acknow- 
ledgment of the spirit that pervades your last communication 
and the kind expressions it contains, and to assure your Lord- 
ship that had your former letters been similar in character to 
this, you would have had no reason to complain of their reception 
at my hands ; but your Lordship must remember that thej^ 
contained simply threats amounting to notice of proceedings, 
and left me no alternative except the course which I pursued, 
viz., to refer your Lordship to my Solicitors. My Lord, in 
reference to your present letter, it is true that now, for more 
than fifty years, I have bred and sometimes had in training for 
the race-course many horses. They are of a breed highly 
prized, which I inherited with my estate, and which have been 
in my family for generations. 

" It may be difficult perhaps to decide what constitutes a 
scandal in the Church, but I cannot think that in my endeavours 
to preserve this breed, and thus improve the horses of this 
country— an object of special interest at the present time— I 
have done anything to incur your Lordship's censure. I am 
fully aware, as your Lordship must be too, by this time, that 
legal proceedings upon your part would be powerless against 
me, and if, therefore, I resign the livings which I hold within 
your Lordship's Diocese, it will not be from any consciousness 
of wrong or from fear of any consequences that might ensue in 
the Ecclesiastical Courts, but simply because I desire to live for 
the remainder of my days in peace and charity v/ith all men, and 
to save your Lordship the inconvenience, and the Church the 
scandal, of futile proceedings being taken against one who has 
retired some time from parochial ministration and is lying on a 
bed of sickness at the moment. 

" I rest, 

" Yours faithfully, 
" J. W. King." 

" Apology's " career extended over four years and ended 
with a win — the Ascot Cup in 1876, soon after Parson King's 
death. She was entered for the race under the name of " Mr. 
Seabrook," a name derived from C. Brook. Dr. W. H. Brook 
was a personal friend of the parson's, and one of his executors, 
but did not long survive him. The doctor was succeeded by 

The REV. J. W. KING 


[Facing p. 60. 



yaciiig p. (il.; 

The Revs. H. P. Costobadie and J. W. King 6i 

his son, C. Brook, on whom devolved the duty of eri taring the 
young stock. 

The vicar owned two other good horses, namely, " Agility " 
and "Holy Friar,'* the latter's best win being the Gimcrack at 

I believe the vicar actually visited a race -course on three 
occasions, but the only time his trainer recollects having seen 
him on one was at Ascot in 1856, when he had gone to see 
Mr. J. M. Brook's mare " Manganese " run for the Ascot Cup. 
It seems strange that a man should be content to race for so 
many years without ever seeing his horses on the course. I do 
not know why the parson avoided the meetings so religiously ; 
whether it was because he did not want to go, or whether he 
refrained because he was a parson, is hard to determine now. 
If it were the latter highly laudable motive it certainly throws a 
strong suggestion of sincerity on his declarations to his Bishop 
that he kept race-horses and raced for the sake of preserving the 

Mr. King was also a keen shooting man ; for many years 
he joined Lord Henry Bentinck and Mr. Hall, at that time Master 
of the Holderness hounds, in a big shoot of forest and moor in 
Scotland, where the three spent many happy months each year. 
Lord Henry Bentinck used to concern himself with the deer in 
the forest while parson King and Mr. Hall busied themselves 
with the grouse on the heather. The parson died in 1875. 

Chapter VI 

The Rev. Evelyn Burnaby — His ride from Land's End to John o' Groats — 
What his Horses Thought About it — A Sporting Family — Attached Brothers 
— Fred Offers to Fight Evelyn's Battles — " Memories of Famous Trials " — 
The Rev. Evelyn's Legal Mind — Some Contemporaries at Eton — Present 
with Lord Randolph Churchill at Queen Alexandra's Wedding — Apologises 
for Slight Lapse of Memory — A Bouquet for a Bazaar — Lord Exeter called a 
Vagabond — The Jubilee Plunger's Boisterous Spirits — Evelyn Burnaby helps 
Lame Dogs — A Troublesome Curate — Sheriffs Officers pay a Visit — Luncheon 
Under the Sofa — The Prince of Wales at Nice — A Mishap — Some Dandie- 
Dinmonts — Abusing Charity — A Racing Dream and a Murderer's Dream. 

FIRED by his brother— Colonel Fred Burnaby's— " Ride 
to Khiva," the Rev. Evelyn Burnaby thought he would 
like to do a sensational ride on his own account not quite 
so far afield, and decided it should be from Land's End to 
John o' Groats. This ride he brought off to his satisfaction in 
1892, three horses playing out in the process and having to be 
returned home or to hospital. The Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals interfered once. Mr. Burnaby being over 
six feet in height and riding sixteen stone, was rather a heavy 
order for any horse to carry day after day in succession, without 
off-days, and probably they were only half looked after in 
strange stables after fatiguing days. 

Evelyn was the younger son of the Rev. Gustavus 
Burnaby of Somerby Hall, Leicestershire, for many years rector 
of St. Peter's, Bedford. Mr. Evelyn Burnaby's mother was 
one of the four beautiful daughters of Henry Villebois, the 
squire of Marham Hall, in Norfolk. 

Evelyn's father was rather a notable sportsman, and every- 
thing he did was carried out with dignity. He drove to race- 
meetings in a smart carriage and pair, entertained regally, and 
subscribed to every properly -conducted sport. He was always 
well-turned-out and rode good horses, and was very proud of 
his sons and their abilities in sport. It is a truism that it is 
easy for people of considerable means to do things well. Quite 
so, but it does not always follow that they do. 

The Rev. E. Burnaby ; 63 

Colonel Fred Burnaby, my old friend in the Blues, and his 
brother Evelyn, were much attached to one another. The 
letters they wrote were refreshing, so full of fun and affection. 
I wish it were a more general attitude in families ; brothers and 
relations are so often jealous of each other, which spoils the 
pleasure of family life entirely. 

Once while Evelyn was nursing Fred, who was laid up near 
Nice, he had a difference of opinion with a Pole who wished to 
fight him. Fred interviewed the enraged Pole and pointed out 
that Evelyn could not very well fight him, as he was reading tor 
Holy Orders, and duelling was not quite the thing for budding 
curates, but that he would be very pleased to take his place and 
give the foreigner satisfaction. As Fred's prowess with various 
weapons was already well known, the offer was not accepted, and 
the affair subsided. 

I do not think the Church was the profession of the Rev. 
Evelyn's heart. When a boy he was studying for the law, 
which interested him, but he was told that the family living 
was being held for him under an Act of George IV., and his 
fate was sealed one evening at dinner when Chief Baron Pollock 
and Chief Justice Erie were his father's guests during the Assize 
week at Bedford, and they were consulted by Evelyn's father 
as to his son's career. Erie advised Evelyn to take the living, 
but Pollock said he had made £500 in his first year at the Bar, 
adding that no doubt it was an exceptional case. The Chief 
Baron had been Senior Wrangler at Cambridge, and Mr. Burnaby, 
senior, wishing to puzzle the Judge, asked him to write down 
" eleven thousand eleven hundred and eleven " in figures. 
He promptly answered 12,111, remarking, " It is only a trick." 
The result of the after-dinner discussion was that Evelyn was 
ordained, but the law was what he loved, and does to this 
day ; indeed, nothing about Evelyn Burnaby 's life interests me 
so much as his extraordinary interest in great trials. During 
his career as a parson he made time to attend most of the 
sensational murder trials that took place in nearly half a 

From his corner of the court, or seat on the bench, which 
was often accorded him, this hunting parson watched the 
human dramas played out with such a keen eye for the dramatic 
or bizarre that one wonders what his luck would have been if 

64 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

fate had made him a novehst or play-writer. This wonderful 
sense of the dramatic is conspicuous in his " Memories of 
Famous Trials," in which he seizes the " thrill " of a story 
as unerringly as a trained journalist, but quite instinctively. 
For instance, he sets out to tell the once famous story 
of the Wainwright murder. It is worth reading and is a fine 
piece of sensational journalism. I cannot recollect ever before 
having seen a man whose life is largely spent in field sports 
possessing this acute dramatic sense in a similar degree. 

He was more often given a seat on the bench than not, as so 
many of the Judges were his personal friends, including Wight- 
man, who died on circuit at York in 1862, Grantham, Brampton, 
and Day. I have often wondered if it would not be desirable 
to discontinue this practice of allowing the curious to occupy 
seats on the bench. I can understand a man interested in law 
being occasionally allowed this privilege, but when women of 
fashion and other sightseers are given seats there for the pleasure 
of witnessing what must be intensely painful to those being 
tried, I do not think it decorous, humane, or dignified. It is 
inconceivable to me, too, how it can be any pleasure to watch 
a fellow -creature in torture, either mental or physical. 

From his 'earliest childhood Burnaby showed his interest in 
trials and criminals. When a small boy his father once asked 
him what he would hke for a present, and the prompt reply was : 
" The Newgate Calendar, please, father." 

Later in life, when staying in the Isle of Wight, after a public 
dinner his old friend Lord Alverstone, at that time Sir Richard 
Webster, Attorney -General and M.P. for the Island, said to 
Mr. Burnaby, " You ought to have gone to the Bar." My 
friend replied, " If I had. Sir Richard, you would only have 
been Solicitor-General to-night." " Very likely," replied Sir 

Parson Burnaby is a gifted man, and fond of sport in every 
sense of the word. He has enjoyed his fair share of it, too, 
having hunted with most of the English packs, those he has 
hunted with most being the Oakley, Quorn, Cottesmore, Sir 
Watkin Wynn's, Tedworth, Lord Portman's, Blackmore Vale, 
South Dorset, New Forest (deer and fox), and the Devon and 
Somerset stag-hounds. With this last pack he enjoyed much 
sport, and always speaks with affection of the happy days 

The Rev. E. Burnaby 65 

spent while staying with the hospitable folk of that pleasant 
land. He began his hunting in 1853, when five years old, with 
the Oakley. Both he and his brother Fred were born at St. 
Peter's rectory, Bedford, where they began their hunting, being 
taught to ride by the old family coachman, and blooded by 
Robert Arkwright, at that time Master of the Oakley. Evelyn 
was born on January 7th, 1848. 

The custom of blooding children when first they go out 
hunting is one that has proved very trying to many ; some may 
feel exceedingly proud, but others are near to tears. Burnaby 
was told by the Master not to wash his face before his mother 
had seen him, thinking no doubt that having herself been 
reared amongst sporting people she would be pleased to see her 
son showing signs of his hunting baptism. 

He was educated at Eton, some of his contemporaries being 
Mr. A. J. Balfour, Duke of Beaufort, Duke of Argyll, Lord 
Randolph Churchill, and Ernest Vivian, afterwards Lord 
Swansea. Many of these have been his lifelong friends. While 
at Eton in 1863 he was invited to breakfast with Sir Charles 
and Lady Phipps at Windsor Castle on the wedding-day of the 
Prince of Wales (Edward VII.), and he saw the newly-married 
couple drive out of the Sovereign's entrance en route to the 
station for Osborne, where they proposed spending their honey- 

Princess Alexandra arrived in England two days before the 
wedding, and left the train at Slough. Young Burnaby and 
Randolph Churchill, who were seated on a wall, watched the 
procession as it passed through Eton on the way to Windsor. 
I think the mounted band of the 2nd Life Guards impressed 
them most. 

Then came Oxford, where Burnaby graduated with honours. 
After this he was curate at Christchurch, Frome, with a stipend 
of £60 a year. 

Once while preaching at Keyham, near Borrough, when the 
candles had been lighted in the pulpit his surplice sleeves were 
swept through the flames so often during the peroration, in such 
an alarming manner that a friend dashed up the pulpit steps 
and whispered, " Do you want all the women to faint ? They 
certainly will unless you keep your arms out of the candles." 
At times parson Burnaby v/as a trifle forgetful, and when 

66 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

preaching at Thorpe Satchville, during the harvest thanks- 
giving, he entirely forgot the name of the charity the collec- 
tion was for. After the service, while making his apologies 
to the vicar for his forgetfulness, he remarked that he 
feared the collection would not be a good one in consequence. 
" On the .contrary," was the reply, " it amounts to £40, 
including a promissory note for £35 from someone signing him- 
self Burnaby." The good-hearted late General Burnaby of 
Baggrave Hall, Leicestershire, had been hunting in the neigh- 
bourhood during the week, and hearing that his cousin was to 
occupy the pulpit, went to hear him preach ; observing his 
forgetfulness he had done his best to make up for it. Parson 
Burnaby asked him later why he had done it. " I did it for 
the family name," he replied, " but confound it, I have to make 
that note good." General Burnaby was like his cousin Fred, 
never far behindhand with his payments ; in which he differed 
greatly from his great friend Valentine Baker, who, though a rich 
man, could not be persuaded to pay his bills punctually. He 
would always say he would see to them by-and-bye, but the 
" by-and-bye " was a long time coming as a rule. 

It was while staying with General Burnaby at Blaggrave 
that the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.) sowed the seed 
of the famous covert now a sure find with the Quorn. 

When on a visit at Longleat with the late Marquess of Bath, 
parson Burnaby took a service during which he inadvertently 
prayed for George IV., and, when teased about it afterwards, got 
out of it by saying, " Well, it is a long time since anyone prayed 
for him." He speaks with affection of the late Duke and 
Duchess of Bedford, their ducal home at Woburn being close to 
his father's rectory. They saw a good deal of one another, and 
many happy days of his childhood were spent there. The 
Duchess was a charitable woman and full of good works. Once 
when she was busy with a bazaar in aid of the restoration of St. 
Peter's church, Evelyn Burnaby, then a little boy and anxious 
to do his bit towards the charity, picked all the choicest flowers 
in the rectory garden and made them into a bouquet, presenting 
them to the Duchess's stall marked one guinea. Some time 
elapsed before any offer was made for this splendid bargain, 
until the Duchess called on one of the gilded youths present to 
buy it, which to his everlasting glory^ he did ; but his expression 

The Rev. E. Burnaby 67 

suggested that he not only disliked it, but did not know what to 
do with his purchase when he had it. 

Another time Mrs. Burnaby, the rector's wife and mother of 
Evelyn, got up some theatricals at the rectorj^ The Duchess 
was among the guests, and seeing Evelyn taking the part of the 
Prince, remarked that as he was a Prince he must wear royal 
jewels, and she thereupon adorned his black velvet cap with some 
of the jewels that once belonged to the ill-fated Josephine. He 
was glad when the theatricals were over and the jewels safely 
back in the Duchess's hands again. 

Parson Burnaby was installed by the Bishop of Peterborough 
to the living of Burrough-on-the-Hill, a famous spot in the 
Quorn country. It will be remembered that this Bishop was 
appointed by Disraeli so that he might use his eloquence in the 
House of Lords to save the Irish Church from disestablishment. 
■ The Bishop of Peterborough was not what could be justly 
described as a very sympathetic man, but he had a great fund 
of after-dinner stories. Perhaps none of them come up to the 
repartee attributed to Archdeacon Baly of Calcutta, when 
sitting at dinner near a young man whose conversation was 
inclined to be rather boisterous and interspersed with swear 
words. Presently the youth looked across at him and said, 
" I hope I do not pain you with my language, sir, but I always 
call a spade a spade." " Do you really ? " replied the Arch- 
deacon ; " I should have thought you would have called it a 
damned shovel ! " 

Parson Burnaby was staying one winter in the Isle of Wight. 
His old friend the late Marquess of Exeter and his wife were 
living at Shanklin for a time trying to retrench. Burnaby 
was arranging a ball in aid of the Primrose League, and asked 
the Exeters if they would be patron and patroness. The 
Marquess, who was a delightfully natural man, replied, " Cer- 
tainly, if our poor names are any use to you ; but we have no 

Sea-fishing was a favourite ' recreation of Lord Exeter, 
and one day he walked into the County Club at Ventnor in the 
grubby old sweater and woollen comforter he had been 
wearing at sea. The secretary of the club was much upset at 
his appearance, and not knowing who it was, remarked to Mr. 
Burnaby that such extraordinary -looking vagabonds should 

68 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

not be allowed in the club ; he felt rather uncomfortable when 
he heard who the " vagabond " was. 

Another mteresting visitor on the Island at the same time 
was the eccentric young man known later as the " Jubilee 
Plunger," who attained notoriety by squandering an enormous 
fortune in a single year. He was spending the last days of his 
minority with his guardian. Mr. Benzon— for that was the 
Plunger's name — was obliged to be taken by his bear-leader to 
the Scilly Isles in order to escape from the intrigues of people 
determined to obtain some of his money. 

The young man's boisterous spirit caused his guardian some 
uncomfortable moments at intervals. Once Mr. Dorrien- 
Smith of Tresco Abbey, hearing they were on the Island, kindly 
invited them to dinner. While waiting for it to be announced, 
their rather stately host was warming himself after the fashion 
of men before the fire, with his coat-tails delicately and almost 
imperceptibly divided, when the exuberant Benzon dealt the 
elderly gentleman a resounding smack, saying, " Wake up, old 
cock ! " 

Mr. Burnaby was present in 1868 at the ball given by the 
Duchess of Manchester to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and 
it interested him to watch Maria Marchioness of Ailesbur}% 
dancing the lancers with the Prince, doing her steps and holding 
her skirts so daintily while her partner likewise did his best, 
saying, " We'll show them how to do it. Lady Ailesbury." And 
so they did, with all the grace of movement of the old minuet. 

At the same ball the Princess invited the Master of the 
Oakley, Mr. Robert Arkwright, to be her partner. Burnaby had 
told him that the Princess was sure to ask him, and he was 
rather frightened, as dancing was not his forte, the figures 
of the lancers were beyond him ; when the time arrived his 
face was full of anguish, but the Princess helped him through. 

Mr. Arkwright's son, who married Mrs. FitzGeorge as her 
first husband, was looking on at the performance, and was, much 
tickled at his sire's distress. " Look at the poor governor ; he 
would give a good deal to be out of it," was his verdict. 

During Mr. Burnaby's active life he has met crowds of 
interesting people, and an hour's chat with him is not only 
amusing but instructive. He has been a keen observer and a 
good friend to many. To my knowledge he has at one time and 

The Rev. E. Burnaby 69 

another helped friends to the tune of £500 and £800 without 
ever getting the money back, but still he does not complain. 
He has written two books, one giving an account of his ride 
from Land's End to John o' Groats, and the other about famous 
trials which I have already alluded to. 

While holding the family living of Burrough from 1873 to 
1883, he was compelled through ill-health to seek the assistance 
of curates, to whom he gave a stipend of £120 a year. He had 
a good deal of trouble with some of them ; one in particular 
gave him a considerable amount of worry. This curate rented 
a cottage from Colonel Fred Burnaby at two guineas a week ; 
after a long time it transpired that no rent had been paid, so 
Evelyn Burnaby thought it might be a convenient plan to 
deduct the sum from the curate's stipend. He suggested this, 
but was told, " I do not wish the two transactions mixed up." 
The next thing that happened was that the curate moved, and 
was installed in the beautifully furnished rectory, and chanced 
to meet his rector one day in the parish. The curate remarked 
pleasantly, " I have had the Sheriff's officers down this morning, 
and they threatened a seizure." 

The furniture being parson Burnaby 's, he asked quickly if 
they had taken anything . 

" Not very much, I think," replied the curate casually. 
" It's all yours, you see." But here his manner changed and he 
grew stern. " But would you believe who sent the men down ? " 

" I have no idea," admitted the rector. 

" Well, it was your own brother, sir." 

Things went on like this, with writs continually being sent 
to the rectory for the curate. When the time arrived for the 
harvest festival, Mr. Burnaby arranged with his old friend Dean 
Hole to preach the sermon. He and Mr. Burnaby were marching 
at the rear of the procession, all robed, from the rectory to the 
choir, the curate being immediately in front of them, when a 
suspicious-looking individual came and touched the curate on 
the arm. 

" A writter," whispered Dean Hole. 

" How dare you touch me when I am taking part in a holy 
procession ! " cried the curate furiously. 

What happened then I do not know, but after church Dean 
Hole and Burnaby were preparing to eat some luncheon they 

70 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

had brought with them in the drawing-room of the rectory, the 
curate partaking of his in another part of the house. The two 
friends were enjoying their cold chicken, salad, and sherry, 
when a mounted youth galloped up to the front door in full 
view of the luncheon-party. " Another writter, you may 
depend," groaned Dean Hole, hastily hiding the chicken and 
the sherry under the sofa, and arranging the valance in front of 
them. Parson Burnaby then sallied out, not doubting that it 
was indeed another writ-server, and asked in his brusquest 
manner, " Well, how much this time ? " To his surprise the 
rider became extremely angry and rode away again at top 
speed. It was not until the galloping figure was out of sight 
that parson Burnaby remembered that it was the son of the 
late Sir Frederick Fowke, whom he had invited to have luncheon 
with them. 

At last the curate was got rid of and moved into lodgings in 
a neighbouring town, where he continued his practice of paying 
no rent. As the lodgings were usually let to hunting men who 
paid well and asked no questions, the landlord soon tired of the 
curate, who had occupied the rooms for six weeks with his wife 
and family, his only payment having been that once, in a moment 
of expansion, he gave the landlord's little boy " six penn'orth 
of sweets." This was the last straw, and that night the curate 
found that all the blankets had been removed from the bed. 
After this he migrated to Scarborough, and shortly afterwards 
made another — but this time compulsory — migration to York 
Castle until some pressing debts were paid. 

After the curate had left the rectory parson Burnaby was 
busy straightening up the place, when one of the curate's local 
creditors came to see if there was anything he could take 
possession of to repay him in some measure for his losses, which 
consisted of groceries. There was nothing for him except a 
large pile of empty bottles, which he plaintively remarked 
were better than nothing, and took them sadly away with 

Mr. Burnaby was much sought after as a preacher. In 
Leicestershire alone he preached in thirteen different churches. 
Perhaps it would almost be easier to count the churches he has 
not preached in than those he has. He is a Broad Churchman 
after Doctor Arnold of Rugby's way of thinking, and he 

The Rev. E. Burnaby 71 

also found himself in complete agreement with all the sermons 
Canon Farrar preached at the Abbey. 

Although Evelyn Burnaby has been in ill-health for some 
time, he is as interested in things and people as ever, while his 
memory is so clear that he has been of great assistance to me in 
remembering old times, old friends, and dates. Perhaps he 
will write his own memoirs some day : I hope he will. 

He used to spend a good deal of time in the Riviera. Once 
when he was returning with his father and mother in the 
Rapide from Marseilles, which was not timed to stop between 
Dijon and Paris, they unexpectedly pulled up at Fontainebleau. 
A bevy of fair ladies, aides-de-camps, officers and obsequious 
railway officials were on the platform, and some great person 
was evidently about to join the train. 

It proved to be the Empress Eugenie, who was returning to 
Paris from a shooting -party in the forest. She was lifted into 
the train from the low platform by an aide-de-camp, amidst 
much laughter and merriment among the courtiers. This 
was some fifty years ago, while Paris was still the most brilliant 
capital in Europe and the Imperial master at the Tuilleries at 
the height of his power. Burnaby was much impressed by the 
Empress's beauty. He did not see her again for years, until 
she passed him in a hansom-cab one day in St. James's Street 
when she was a widowed ex-Empress, after having escaped to 
the house of a dentist at the time of the Commune, from whose 
house she made her way as a fugitive to the coast and was 
brought to England by an old friend. Sir John Burgoyne, who 
was given the fee -simple of Sutton and Potter in the county of 


The height of the railway carriages above the platforms in 
France has often tried me highly, especially when I have 
had no aide-de-camp to help me. I remember seeing our dear 
King Edward, when Prince of Wales, very nearly have a nasty 
fall once while alighting from the train at Nice. All would 
probably have gone well if he had been given a chance of getting 
down in the ordinary peaceful fashion, but a crowd of officials 
sought to assist him while simultaneously bowing, saluting, and 
expressing their pleasure at seeing him. So many helping 
hands were held out to him and so many swords became en- 
tangled amongst excited legs, that the Prince missed the steps 

72 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

altogether and fell into the midst of those greeting him. The 
cries of horror and anguish that arose made one fear that the 
Prince or someone had been seriously hurt, but in a moment 
or two he was on his feet again, being smoothed down and 
smiling quite happily, his fall having been broken by the crowd 
of officials. 

What impressed itself undyingly on my memory was that 
everyone had his hat in his hand before the fall, everyone 
dropped his hat during the faU, and nobody could find the right 
hat after the fall. It was what a music-hall artist would 
technically describe as " Funny business with hat." The 
hobble-skirt days made French platforms even more incon- 

Parson Burnaby is a great dog-lover, Dandie-Dinmonts 
being perhaps his favourites ; he was especially devoted to a 
couple of pedigree dogs of that breed named " Joe " and 
" Susie." " Joe's " kennel-name was " Mr. Smith " ; he was 
son of the famous " Tartan King," and a winner of many prizes. 
Another great friend was a pomeranian, who managed once 
to escape from the train while travelling with his master 
in France, and was of course missed at the journey's end. 
Mr. Burnaby at once retraced his journey, keeping a sharp 
look-out from the railway carriage windows as he went along. 
Luckily he saw the dog running about the road near the line, 
and getting out at the next station, recaptured his pet and 
together they went on their way rejoicing, both having been 
miserable while parted. 

Some amusing stories are told by Mr. Burnaby of his uncle, 
Mr. Harry Villebois, whom I have already mentioned ; he 
appears to have been a most kind-hearted man, and a little 
peculiar, after the fashion of those times. His house was one of 
the finest in Belgrave Square, and the scenes of many balls and 
dinners to Royalty, while his suppers were one of the features 
of the season. Mr. Burnaby was often invited there to luncheon 
on Sundays, and has arrived to find seated in the hall a motley 
company consisting of a policeman, a crossing -sweeper, a link- 
man and an old cabman, with his uncle personally ministering 
to their wants with provisions, assisted by three flunkies in 
powdered wigs and plush knee-breeches. 

Mr. Burnaby 's great-uncle, Mr. Truman Villebois, was equally 

The Rev. E. Burnaby 73 

charitable and made it a custom to give a five -pound note to 
any woman in the parish who was about to become a mother ; 
unfortunately, as so often happens to the charitable, he was 
imposed upon, but he had an innocent mind, and suspected 
nothing until he found that one woman had claimed the £5 
three times in one year. After this discovery he felt vaguely 
that there might be something wrong, although he was no 
expert in such matters ; so he sought the advice of a faithful 
retainer called Sam, who presumably was an expert, as he 
speedily disillusioned his master by telhng him that he had been 
imposed upon. 

At Christmas-time in London, notwithstanding the fact that 
he owned many carriages and horses, he always sallied out in a 
cab driven by the old cabby that he fed on Sundays, and with 
him distributed fat turkeys and game among friends who he 
thought might be glad of them. 

Mr. Burnaby's great-grandfather was a famous whip, and is 
said to have been the author of the paradox dealing with the 
rules o^ the road : 

If you go to the left 
You are sure to go right 
If you go to the right 
You go wrong. 

Among parson Burnaby's great friends were the late Dean 
Hole and the late Lord Vivian, known as " Hook and Eye " 
because of the affinity between his nose and chin. Lord Vivian 
was a patron of the turf, and Hke the late Lord Poulett, had a 
curious dream about a race ; in this case he dreamed that a 
horse called " Teacher " would win the Citv and Suburban, so 
he enquired if such a horse was running. There was no entry 
under that name, but he was told that there was a horse entered 
that had once been called the " Teacher," and that it had no 
chance. In spite of that he backed it at long odds, and won a 
large sum of money. 

Mr. Evelyn Burnaby was married twice : his first wife, whom 
he married in 1871, was Winifred Crake, a very beautiful 
woman ; she died at Somerby Hall in 1873 at the age of twenty- 
two. His second wife was the Hon. Margaret Erskine, daughter 
of the fourth Lord Erskine. 

In Mr. Burnaby's book of famous trials he tells the curious 

74 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and ^Var 

story of the three attempts to hang the Babbacombe murderer, 
who had been convicted of kilHng and trying to burn the re- 
mains of his old mistress at Torquay. 

While in Exeter jail, the night before the execution was to 
take place, Lee dreamed that three attempts would be made 
unsuccessfully to take his life. He related this dream to his 
warder Bennett, who in turn told it to the Governor, who made 
a note of it hurriedly in his diary. 

The dream came tragically true, as is well known, and 
created a great sensation at the time. 

At the end of that most distressing day, when the Governor 
Avas looking up his diar}^ each day of which was headed with a 
verse of Scripture, he noticed that the day appointed for the 
execution which had ended so dramatically had written above 

" Surely it is the hand of the Lord which has done this 

Dreams and sleep are strange and delicate things which few 
of us understand — that great mystery of sleep when we pass into 
another world of influences and presences as when we leave our 
earthly bodies at death. It has always seemed to me that 
death and sleep are so nearly allied — more a difference of 
duration than condition. ^n our daily sleep we keep our 
carriage waiting at the door to take us back ; in the other, 
having reached home, we dismiss it, having no further use 
for it. 

The premonition of Lee's dream provides food for thought. 

Chapter VII 

The Rev. Charles I^ngsley — Highly Strung — Writes Poetry and Sermons at 
the Age of Four — Preaches to tlie Chairs — Night-shirt Surplice— Not Popu- 
lar at School — A Gentle Reproof — His Opinion of District Visitors — Inward 
Struggles — Boxing under a Negro Tutor — A Lengthy Walk — More Settled 
Convictions — Letter to his Mother — A Great Preacher — Crowds at his Church 
— Becomes Vicar of Eversley — His Love of Hounds — Author of " Tom 
Brown's School-days" — His Great Friend — A Good Run — His Enthusiasm — 
Occasional Conflicts with other Clerics — Dallying with Socialism — Reconciling 
Science and Religion — His Views on Women's Rights — An Angry Incumbent 
— The Bishop of London Interferes — Cardinal Newman and Kingsley — 
Newman Scores — Restless Habits — " Water Babies " — Clerical Wild Oats 
Forgiven — Devotion of his Wife — His Death — A Picturesque Funeral. 

at Holne Vicarage on Dartmoor, is an outstanding 
figure in English hterature, which, as everybody 
knows, he enriched with " Westward Ho ! " and " Water 

He was a dehghtful and interesting man whom I always 
regret not having met, as he died just before I was launched 
from the dry-dock of the schoolroom into the deep waters of 
the world. He was one of those highly -strung, emotional people, 
with the rare faculty of doing his thinking for himself, who are 
always arresting and often have the power of imparting some of 
their enthusiasm to others. As in the case of Jack Russell, 
much has been written about Kingsley, with his deep erudition 
and gift of golden writing, but his love of sport, especially 
fishing, has never received the attention it deserves, for he 
certainly comes within the category of sporting parsons, and 
was, moreover, a sporting cleric of the very best sort, who never 
laid himself open to the charge of neglecting his duty to make 
time for his pleasures. His letters show that if he had turned 
his attention to writing of sport he would have made it live in 
his pages as Whyte Melville did. 

He must have been a precocious child, as we hear of him 
writing sermons and poetry at the age of four, and improvising 

yb Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

pulpits for himself from which he delivered his addresses to 
rows of chairs arranged around him, while becomingly robed in 
his night-shirt. Perhaps it is not surprising that such a wildly 
volatile nature should have developed a stutter during his early 
childhood that clung to him more or less all his life. There 
must have been so much to say that required saying quickly 
that one can almost hear the stutter beginning. 

When twelve years old he went to school at Clifton, and 
later to a grammar-school in Cornwall. It is a httle curious 
that while he was never popular at school, he was a general 
favourite when he went to Cambridge. As a schoolboy he did 
not take the slightest interest in games. I admit it with 
anguish, and public-school readers must forgive him as best 
they can. His passion was science and art, but occasionally he 
came out of his seclusion and performed lonely feats of school- 
boy prowess, such as chmbing notoriously unclimbable trees, or 
jumping the grimmest obstacles, which created sensations, even 
if they only served to confirm the general verdict that he was a 
" rum chap." 

Charles Eangsley never quite conquered his stammer, and 
never lost his love of Devonshire, where he first made the 
intimate acquaintance of birds, fishes, and all the beautiful 
things of nature which were more to him than food and raiment. 

Speaking of his love for the home of his youth, he says : 
" You must not despise their accent, for it remains of a purer 
and nobler dialect than our own, and you will be surprised to 
hear me, when I am merry, burst into pure unintelligible Devon- 
shire. When I am very childish my own country's language 
comes to me like a dream of old days." 

One of the stories I like best in Mrs. Kingsley's book of 
memories, is, when her husband was dining with some officers 
at Aldershot, someone present began to ridicule religion and 
was reprimanded by Mr. Kingsley ; an apology followed at 
once, the speaker having forgotten a clergyman was present. 
" All right," said Eangsley, " but do not apologise on that 
account. We are paid to fight these arguments, as you are paid 
to fight in another way. If a clergyman is worth his salt you 
will always find him ready to try a fall with you. Besides, it is 
better for your friends, if they are to have poison, to have the 
antidote in the same spoon." 

The Rev. C. Kingsley rj 

When his father was given a hving in Chelsea by Lord 
Cadogan, Kingsley went to King's College, walking backwards 
and forwards from Chelsea daily, and became not a little bored 
with the unending parochial activities in his parents' parish. 
Both the district visitors and the young ladies given to good 
works failed to please him, judging by a letter he wrote to a 
friend at this time, in which he refers to these worthy people as 
being — " Nothing but ugly splay-footed beings, three -fourths 
of whom can't sing, and the other quarter sing miles out of tune 
with voices like love-sick parrots. Confound ! " 

In 1838 he went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where at 
first he showed signs of being something of a recluse. He read 
the Oxford pamphlet, which appeared at this time, and becam.e 
entangled in the theological hurly-burly that swept over the 
two great universities. He worked himself up into a dis- 
tressing state of mind, beset on all sides with doubts and 
speculation ; of course what was happening v/as only the 
mental upheaval that all active minds have to meet and conquer, 
as has been told by Carlyle in his " Sartor Resartus," and is 
there for those who are ready to dig for it under the mantle of 
obscurity the author has thrown about his meaning, in that 
strange work of genius. All Kingsley 's letters show how this 
struggle was raging within him at the time. First the Athan- 
asian Creed got up against his path, and we hear such phrases 
as, " Bigotry, cruelty and quibbling." By the way, he ulti- 
mately became quite reconciled to the creed, but that was years 
later. There were passionate letters of doubt written : " You 
cannot conceive the moments of self-abasement and self-shame 
I have. ... If the philosophers of old were right, and I am 
right in my religion, alas for Christendom ! and if I am wrong, 
alas for myself ! . . . I cannot say, with the French atheist, 
' O God (if there be a God).' I cannot entreat Him on the 
chance of His possessing a power I do not believe He possesses." 
Then came a time when nothing seemed to matter. It was the 
centre of the whirlpool. He wanted to fly to the far west and 
live all by himself in the prairies. This led to the conclusion 
that he would have a good time first. Why not ? as nothing 
mattered. So he hunted, played cards, shot duck in the fens, 
learnt boxing under a negro fighter, neglected his work, and 
incidentally became very popular. There is a description of 

78 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

him at this time that I should Hke to quote : "... A bold 
thinker, a bold rider, a most chivalrous gentleman — sad, shy 
and serious habitually ; in conversation at one moment brilliant 
and impassioned, the next reserved and unapproachable ; by 
turns attracting and repelling, but pouring forth, to the friend 
whom he could trust, stores of thought, feeling, and informa- 
tion on every sort of unexpected subject which seemed 

Presently his " have a good time " mood began to change, 
and in his restlessness he walked from Cambridge to London, a 
distance of fifty -two miles, in a day, thereby doubtless working 
off a little more spiritual indigestion. 

He was physically a very strong man, and a quick walker, 
his impetuosity plainly discernible ; many young men found 
difficulty in keeping up with him. 

Soon after this he refers to himself as " Saved," and exults 
in the calm repose of settled convictions. It was now that he 
met his fate in the shape of Miss Fanny Grenfell, whom he 
ultimately married and loved with lifelong devotion, saying 
prettily that his first day of real wedded life was the first day he 
saw her. It is to her admirable Life of her husband that I am 
indebted for these extracts from his letters. At times he 
worked hard, and gained a scholarship in 1839, when he was 
first of his year at the May examinations. His letter home on 
the subject is a little pathetic : " Pardon the wildness of my 
letter, for I am so happy I hardly know what to say. You 
know I am not accustomed to being successful." 

In another letter written to his mother while he was at 
Cambridge, he says : 

" My heart is much older than my years. ... I feel that 
within which makes me far more happy or more miserable than 
those about me. ... I shall be an old man before I am forty. 
My heart is veiy full and I am rather lonely. . . . God bless 
you . . . God bless you, and if you rejoice that you have born 
a man into the world, remember that he is not one like common 
men, neither cleverer nor wiser, nor better than a multitude, but 
utterly different to them in heart and mind . . . legislate for 
him accordingly. 

" Your own boy, 


The Rev. C. Kingsley 79 

During his time of doubt he hardly worked at all, and had 
a hard grind to win his degree at the end, putting three years' 
work into as many months. 

After his ordination by the Bishop of Winchester in 1842 
he became curate of Eversley in Hampshire, where he found 
matters in a bad state, as was not uncommon in mral parishes 
in those days. Not one adult labourer in the parish could 
read or write, and village sanitation was practically non- 
existent. There was no congregation at the church, which 
itself badly needed repair, and the whole work of the parish 
was left to him by the vicar. 

He was a great preacher, and never stuttered in the pulpit. 
People thronged to hear him, soldiers home from the Crimea — 
amongst others one who had been dangerously wounded at 
Scutari, who had read his " Yeast," and determined if he lived 
to return home he would make a point of going to hear the man 
preach who could give such a picture of a hunting scene as the 
one in the opening chapter. 

In 1844 things grew brighter, as the Hving became vacant, 
and was given to him by Sir John Cope at the wish of the 
parishioners. This enabled him to marry, but the picture was 
slightly clouded by the heavy dilapidations to the rectory he 
had to pay. He was by no means rich, and was never free from 
money worries. This was one of the reasons why he did not 
hunt more regularly. The temptation to follow hounds was a 
sore one, as the pack — now known as the Garth — was kennelled 
at Bramshill, quite near, so that they were continually passing his 
windows on the way to their meets. His friends have seen tears 
come to his eyes as he watched them go by and could not join them. 

In the course of time he acquired a horse to facilitate his 
journeyings about the j^arish. It was not a showy beast, being 
strictly utilitarian, but he managed to imbue it with enough of 
his own fire to enjoy an occasional day's hunting on it. When 
he and his " Rosinante " did turn out, he was assured of a 
hearty welcome by the members of the field. 

Here is an account of a hunt he snatched from the middle of 
a day's parish work. It is to his great fishing companion and 
bosom friend, Thomas Hughes — author of " Tom Brown's 
School-days " — and is dashed off in the true Kingsley state of 
glowing enthusiasm : 

8o Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" I had just done my work and seen my poor, and dinner 
was coming on to the table yesterday — just four o'clock — when 
the bow-wows appeared on the top of the Mount, trying my 
patch of gorse, so I jumped up, left the cook shrieking — and 
off. — He wasn't there, but I knew where he was, for I keep a 
pretty good register of foxes (ain't they my parishioners and 
parts of my flock ?) and, as the poor fellows had had a blank 
day, they were very thankful in five minutes to find themselves 
going like mad. We had an hour and a half of it — scent breast 
high as the dew began to rise (bleak north-easter always good 
weather), and if we had not crossed a second fox, should have 
killed him in the open ; as it was we lost him after sunset, after 
the finest grind I have had these nine years, so I went back to 
dinner. The old horse behaved beautifully, not fast, but in 
the enclosed woodlands he can live up to anyone, and earned 
great honour by leaping in and out of the Loddon, only four 
more doing it, and one receiving a mucker. 

" I feel three years younger to-day. The whip tells me 
there were three in the river together, rolling over, horse and 
man ! What a sight to have lost, even by being ahead. 

" Have you seen the story of the run on January 7th, when 
Mr. Woodburn's hounds found at Blackholme at the bottom of 
Windermere and ended beyond Helvellyn, more than fifty 
miles of mountain ? After Applethwait Crag (where the field 
lost them) they had a ring on High Street (2,700 feet) of an 
hour, unseen by mortal eye ; and after that were seen by a 
shepherd in Pattcrdale, Brother's Water, top of Fairfield (2,900 
feet), Dunmail Gap, and then over the top of Helvellyn (3,050 
feet), and then to ground on Birkside Screes — I cannot find it 
on the maps — but what a poetic thing ! Helvellyn was deep in 
frost and snow. Oh, that I could write a ballad there anent. 
The thing has taken possession of me but I can't find words. 
There was never such a run since we were bom ; and to think 
of the hounds doing the last thirty miles alone ! " 

Whenever he had had a great day, either in the field or by 
the river, he always had to sit down and let Tom Hughes hear 
all about it, even when he came in late and tired. 

For a good many years Charles Kingsley's advanced views 
often served to get him into conflict with less advanced clerics. 
It was a time of unrest. First the Oxford movement disturbed 

The Rev. G. Kingsley 8i 

him, as we have seen, and then science began to pick quarrels 
v/ith reUgion, or was accused of doing so, and social questions 
became increasingly pressing. Socialism rattled its bones and 
gave people cold shivers, and Kingsley dallied with it, or at any 
rate he agreed with some of its principles, to the unbounded 
horror of his cloth. Dissatisfaction awoke in the land, and the 
anger that set Watts painting his accusatory pictures " Mam- 
mon " and " Hope," sent Kingsley off at score on the ideal of 
Christian socialism. Among other good things this was to 
reconcile science and religion, for, in his love of science, he had 
greeted the revelations of Darwin and Huxley with open arms, 
while his interest in economic questions led him to correspond 
with John Stuart Mill. 

Then came the cause of women's rights, and this too he was 
quite ready to consider ; but certain tendencies he perceived in 
this movement led him, after a time, to withhold his support. 

He believed it would be good for the race generally if women 
qualified as medical practitioners. On this subject he was 
enthusiastic. He wrote a good deal about it, as well as other 
matters, under the nom-de-plume of " Parson Lot." 

It will be seen that he was fairly deep in the questions of the 
day. Science he was convinced could walk hand-in-hand with 
religion amicably enough. This sounds a tame idea now, but 
at that time Bishops had not got over being called monkeys ; 
and dallying with Darwin was a first-class misdemeanour. 
Once, when preaching in a London church on " The Message 
of the Church to the Working Man," the incumbent became so 
infuriated by his discourse that he jumped up and protested. 
A rumpus of the first magnitude ensued, and in due course the 
thunders were invoked in the shape of the Bishop of London, 
who decreed that Kingsley should preach no more in the churches 
of liis diocese. 

A controversy that troubled him far more, was one between 
himself and Newman (afterwards Cardinal Newman). 

Kingsley had written an article in Macmillan' s Magazine 
in which he said that Newman did not consider truth a necessary 
virtue, that Papal prerogatives cannot touch the civil allegiance 
of Catholics, etc. 

The main point at issue was not really the personal integrity 
of Doctor Newman, but the question whether the Roman 


82 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Catholic priesthood are encouraged or discouraged to pursue 
" Truth for its own sake." After all, Kingsley said nothing 
more harsh of the Church of Rome than Newman had already 
said himself, though he recanted his sayings later. 

In Newman he found rather more than his match, for the 
to-be Cardinal was a highly-skilled controversialist and scored 
points heavily against his antagonist. 

The Bristol riots, which Kingsley had seen as a schoolboy 
at Clifton, awakened his interest in the conditions under which 
the working -classes lived, and it never abated. It was what 
he saw in the slums of his father's London parish, and the 
condition of Eversley when first he went there as a curate, 
that turned his attention to the question of sanitation, and 
he achieved great things, collecting a band of fellow-workers 
about him whose efforts materially widened his sphere of 

He preached the doctrine of fresh air and cold water from 
the pulpit wherever he went, and his methods were the origin 
of the term " Muscular Christianity " which caught the popular 
fancy as only empty phrases can do. Much of the improvement 
in sanitation that took place during the succeeding quarter of a 
century was directly or indirectly due to his ceaseless efforts. 

Kingsley habitually overworked himself, and his tempera- 
ment that made it difficult for him to sit through a meal without 
jumping up and fidgeting about the room at intervals, did not 
help him to take much rest, however urgently needed. Several 
times he was obliged to go abroad for a holiday, but fishing was 
his favourite method of recuperation. The days he loved best 
were spent by the river with his friend Tom Hughes, and when 
he had to go alone, his first thought was always to let his friend 
hear all about it. 

Kingsley was a keen naturalist as well as a geologist. It is 
probably true that he was interested in too many subjects, for 
his early writings gave promise of considerably greater things 
than he ever achieved. His volatile nature sent him on a 
thousand quests and always prevented him concentrating on 
one theme, which might have given a really great writer to the 

As it is, his "Water Babies" is an exquisite thing, and, like 
" Alice in Wonderland," has given delight to more grown-up 

The Rev. G. Kingsley 83 

babies than almost any other work originally meant^for children. 
I seldom see a stream in flood without thinking of the wonderful 
description of a spate in " Water Babies," when all the living 
things of the river awake to the call of the sea, and rush down- 
stream crying, " Down to the Sea, Down to the Sea ! " Salmon, 
eels, and the evil otters forget all their fears and jostle one 
another in the flood, among the sticks and stones and other 
flotsam of the spate, all intent on getting down to the sea. It 
is very clever, and thrills me, making me feel that I want to 
jump in and go down to the sea too — just as I am sure Kingsley 
felt when he wrote it. 

I like reading his fishing letters, and am glad he was too busy 
a man to fish as often as he liked. It would have been too sad 
if he had grown blase, 

Kingsley often had correspondence with strangers who had 
heard of his skill as a naturalist and wrote to him for information 
or advice. There was an interchange of letters with a Mr. 
Stainton over some wonderful caddises the latter possessed, and 
which they both became quite excited about. 

As Kingsley grew older he became less and less revolutionary 
in his views, as is so often the case. In the course of time his 
clerical wild oats were forgotten or forgiven, and he was ap- 
pointed chaplain to Queen Victoria, and Canon of Westminster. 
The Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.) was probably instru- 
mental in getting him the former appointment, as he was very 
fond of Kingsley, and sent down Sir William Gull from London 
to attend him in his last illness ; while the Royal children tried 
to amuse their kind old friend by sending him pictures they had 
drawn for him. Not long before his death he was fiUing West- 
minster Abbey with vast crowds to hear him preach, but it was 
noticed that his strength was failing, and shortly afterwards he 
took to his bed at Eversley, where he died on January 23rd, 
1875, aged fifty-six. 

Pneumonia was the immediate cause of his death, but he 
had been reckless of his health from the day that the doctors 
had told him that his wife, who had been ill for some time, could 
not hope for ultimate recovery. He said : " Then my own 
death-warrant is signed." His devotion to his wife was touching 
and picturesque. She was lying ill in bed in one room of the 
rectory while her husband was dying in another ; he managed 

84 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

to reach her room for a few minutes, and then, happy and 
content in the behef that they were not going to be parted, 
that they would make their last journey together, he died. 

This, however, was not to be, for she lived until 1891, dying 
on December 12th, aged seventy-seven. 

Kingsley was buried in Eversley churchyard. He had 
arranged all the details of his own funeral some time before he 
died. His parishioners, who loved him, carried him to his last 
resting-place. Around the grave was gathered a large crowd 
of all denominations and ranks. 

A naval officer who was present said he had seen many state 
funerals, but had never seen such a sight as Charles Kingsley's 
presented. Among the soldiers attending were three V.C.'s : 
Colonel Evelyn Wood, V.C., Colonel Alfred Jones, V.C., Colonel 
Sir Charles Russell, V.C. The Master of the Garth and his 
hunt-servants in pink, the horses and hounds stood at the gate. 
The Prince of Wales's representative was there, the squire of the 
parish, and Governors of distant colonies, authors, publishers and 
Gypsies — who called him their "Priest King," and who believed 
he had gone to Heaven on their prayers. For months after- 
wards they continued putting flowers on his grave. 

There is a memorial in Westminster Abbey to Kingsley's 
memory, placed there by his admirers and friends ; and another 
in the churchyard at Eversley erected on the grave by his wife. 

Chapter VIII 

The Rev, Charles Slingsby — Lover of Nature and Sport — A Bad Fall — Curious 
Coincidence — Sir Charles Slingsby, M.F.H. — His Tragic Death — The Ferry- 
boat Disaster — Mr. Clare Vyner Saves a Friend — Education of Rev. Charles 
Slingsby — The English Church Union — Marriage and Hunting on a Small 
Income — Lord William Beresford in a Ditch — Captain Forester Master of 
the Quorn — A Yorkshire Song — History Repeats Itself — Another Tragedy 
— An Impressive Scene — Animal Instincts — A Devoted Fox-Terrier- — Arch- 
bishop of York Preaches a Sporting Sermon — A Memorial Window — A Dis- 
covery at Harrogate — A Scarborough Barber Writes Verses — Sir Eric Gcddcs 
at Scriven. 

THE REV. CHARLES SLINGSBY, of Scriven Park, was 
one of the best-known members of the York and 
Ainsty Himt ; a man of marked personahty, with the 
charming smile born of a kindly heart, a good Churchman, a 
high-principled, kindly neighbour, genial and courteous in the 
extreme — qualities that endear a man to all around him. 

He was I-ord of the Manor, patron of two livings, magistrate 
of the West Riding of Yorkshire, a keen sportsman and a true 
lover of nature, appreciating all her favours, and possessed of 
great courage. Not many men at the age of sixty-eight would 
take a bad fall out hunting as he did only about a year before 
he died, receiving a considerable shaking and a broken rib ; but, 
nothing daunted, he was in the saddle again in a surprisingly 
short space of time. The shock alone, without the broken rib, 
would have taken the nerve out of most men at that time of life. 

He was evidently a believer in my theory that the best way 
after a spill is to mount again as soon as possible, if wishing to 
retain one's nerve. 

Mr. Slingsby inherited Scriven Park under the will of his 
uncle, Sir Charles Slingsby, the tenth and last baronet. It is a 
curious coincidence that two Squires of Slingsby should have 
met their deaths in the hunting-field, and both while out with 
tlie York and Ainsty. 

At the time of Sir Charles's death he was, and had been for 

86 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

years, Master of that pack. The date of his tragic death was 
February 4th, 1869. 

There are many living who can remember that terrible day 
when the greater part of Yorkshire was thrown into mourning, 
and all were shocked and sad. Some of the rising generation, 
and others to come, may be glad to know the particulars, even 
if briefly told. I will therefore give a slight resume of the tragic 
occurrence which made the Rev. Charles Slingsby owner of Scriven 
Park after the death of his cousin, Mrs. Emma Louisa Slingsby. 

The hounds had met at Stainley House on February 4th, 
1869, and were running a fox hard from Monkton Whin, when 
it became necessary for the followers to cross the river Ure, at 
all times dangerous, and doubly so at the moment, there being 
a raging torrent and the banks all flooded. 

A rush was made for the private ferry belonging to the 
Vyners of Newby Hall. In the hurry and excitement of the 
moment thirteen men and eleven horses crowded into the boat, 
which was in charge of two of the Newby gardeners and worked 
by a chain : they are included in the thirteen men. This was 
in excess of its proper carrying powers, yet all might have been 
well had not " Saltfish," the horse ridden by the Master, kicked 
out at the one ridden by Sir George Wombwell, which en- 
deavoured to return the compliment. " Saltfish," thinking 
such close quarters were not to his liking, promptly jumped 
overboard with his rider ; the rest of the boat-load, without 
thinking of the consequences, rushed over to that side, hoping to 
be able to help Sir Charles : the result was the boat capsized. 

What a horrible scene, thirteen men and eleven horses 
struggling and plunging about in the torrent ! The names of 
the unfortunate people were : Sir Charles Slingsby, Bart., 
M.F.H., Mr. Edward Lloyd of Lingcroft, Capt. Key, Major 
Mussenden, Capt. Molyneux, R.N., Mr. Richard Meysey 
Thompson, Mr. Clare Vyner, Mr. White, Sir George Wombwell, 
Bart., Mr. James Robinson, William Orvis (kennel huntsman), 
and Christopher and James Warriner, the two ferrymen. 

Six men lost their lives : Sir Charles Slingsby, Mr. Edward 
Lloyd, Mr. James Robinson, William Orvis, and the two 
ferrymen. Nine horses were drowned, the only two who escaped 
being" Saltfish," who was the cause of the disaster, and ahorse 
named " Woodpigeon," belonging to Mr. Meysey Thompson. 



[Facing p. 86. 



Facing p. 87. 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 87 

Mr. Clare Vyner, who was a strong swimmer, succeeded in 
reaching the overturned boat, and was able to help Sir George 
Wombwell, who was fortunately carried near, by a friendly 
current in the midst of the swirling, boiling water, and was no 
longer able to help himself, being thoroughly exhausted. 

Thus in that brief hour in the midst of their pleasure all was 
changed to woe for those left to mourn them, the sun gone out 
of the lives of the wives, children, and lovers ; but perchance 
those who had gone had found the Sun. 

The subject of this chapter, the Rev. Charles Slingsby, was 
born at Raskelfe in Yorkshire, and was educated at Rossall 
School and St. Edmund's College, Oxford. A story told of one 
of the boys at this school amused me. 

While doing his gymnastic exercises he fell and bit his tongue 
nearly in two, so several stitches had to be put in to keep the 
unruly member in order. When the time came to have the 
stitches taken out the lad sent them home to his mother in a 
letter, asking her to be sure and keep them ! 

When at college two of Mr. Slingsby's greatest friends were 
Arthur Lloyd, afterwards Bishop of Newcastle, and the Rev. 
A. Suckling, who was later vicar of St. Albans, Holborn ; it is 
therefore not surprising that he developed into a Churchman with 
pronounced views and was one of the earliest supporters of the 
English Church Union, being chairman of the local branch at 
the time of his death. 

In 1860 Charles Slingsby was ordained, and became assistant 
curate at Helmsley and later rector of Horswell, where he 
worked for thirteen years, during which time he devoted himself 
to the rebuilding of the church. Following this, in 1880, he 
became rector of Kirby-Sigston, where he remained for more 
than twenty years ; here he restored the church, collecting 
£1,000 for the purpose from amongst his neighbours and friends. 

He had married in 1873 Susan, daughter of Charles Reynard 
of Beverley, another well-known Yorkshire family. They were 
a brave couple, for when first they married their united incomes 
did not come up to £300 a year ! Notwithstanding this 
they contrived to keep a couple of hunters, with the helping 
hand of Mrs. Slingsby's sister, who was a well-known sports- 
woman and often lent them mounts. 

I have observed that the sport enjoyed by members of some 

88 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

of these small establishments, when each day has to be contrived 
and carefully thought out, has far outshone the pleasure ex- 
perienced by those who have only to say what horse they will 
ride and what time the car has to be at the door. 

Mr. Slingsby used to groom his own horses, or rather help 
to groom them, and he occasionally pressed a friend into the 
service. There was a certain Jack Parker and his wife who 
delighted in taking a turn ; the lady, not being tall, had to 
stand on an upturned bucket, which enabled her to reach to 
use her wisp of hay effectively. 

After succeeding to Scriven there was no longer any necessity 
to contrive, and at times the horses hardly had enough work to 
do, as was proved once when Lord William Beresford (who 
was related to the Slingsbys) was staying with them. Being 
an accomplished whip, he had been asked to take the ribbons 
and drive himself and his host to keep some appointment — I 
forget where, but it does not matter, as they never reached 
their destination. The horses were so fresh not even Lord 
Bill's masterly handling could restrain them. If I remember 
rightly, he was driving tandem in a dogcart ; before long the 
horses ran away and landed the occupants in a ditch. Happily 
neither was much the worse. 

Captain Forester, Master of the Quorn, who has hunted 
that pack since 1905 up to the time of writing this book, was a 
friend of Mr. Slingsby's and always liked him to stay there each 
season for hunting, providing him with the best of mounts. 
For a man of a shy and retiring nature, Mr. Slingsby had a 
number of warmly-attached friends, more especially as he 
possessed that delightful but dangerous gift of caricaturing ; 
the gift was, however, perfectly safe in his hands. 

He loved the Yorkshire dialect and delighted in telling stories 

in the vernacular, and told them well. There was one Yorkshire 

song he was often called upon to sing, and as it is now difficult 

to get, some north-country folk may like to be reminded of it. 

The title is : 


I was at home wi' my fayther and mother, I never had no fun ; 
They kept me at it fra' morn till neet, so I tliought fra' them I'd run. 
Leeds fair was coming on, and I thought I'd have a spree. 
So I clapped on my Sunday coat and hat and went away merrily. 

With a bumpgey bumpscy bay, 

Ra too ra roo ra laddiday. 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 89 

First thing I saw was a great big mill, I'd never seen yon afore, 

There were winnies and jennies and slubbers and spinnies and wheels by mony a 

And every strap had a wheel and every wheel had a strap. 
" By gum," says I, " t' maisterman o'wd Harry's a rare strong chap." 

With a bumpsey bumpsey bay, etc. 

Next thing I saw were Leeds o'd Church, I'd nubbut been i' yon i' my days, 
I felt almost ashamed of mysen, for I didn't know their ways. 
There v/ere twenty or thirty folk i' tubs and boxes sat, 
When up comes a' saucy old chap ; says he, " Lad, take off thy hat." 

With a bumpsey bumpsey, etc. 

And then there cam' a great lord mayor, and over his shoulder a club, 
And he donned on a v/hite sack-poke and gat into t' topmost tub, 
And then there came another chap and I think they called him Ned, 
And he gat into t' bottommost tub and mocked what t'other chap said. 

With a bumpsey bumpsey, etc. 

And then they began to pray and to preach, they prayed for George our king, 
Wlien up jumps chap in t' topmost tub, says he, " Good folk, let's sing." 
And I thought some sang very well, while others did grunt and groan. 
And everyone sang what they liked, so I sang " Bob and Joan." 

With a bumpsey bumpsey, etc. 

And when the praying and preaching were over and the folks were going away, 
I went to the chap in t' bottommost tub ; says I, " Lad, what's to pay ? " 
" Wliy, now't, my lad," says he ; by gum, I were right fane, 
So I clicked hold of my old club stick and went whistling out again. 

With a bumpsey bumpsey, etc. 

Besides being able to sing a good song, Mr. Slingsby had, as 
I have already stated, a fund of good stories, which he told well. 
Once when coming out of church after a harvest festival one of 
his parishioners attracted his attention to the number of stacks 
in his yard, and with pride pointed to one, saying, " That one 
is for butcher's meat — that one is for groceries " — then, coming 
to the largest — " and that one is for Gin and Warter." 

History repeats itself, and I must continue now with the 
sad story of how the Rev. Charles Slingsby ended his days in a 
field on his own property while out with the York and Ainsty. 

On this occasion hounds had been taken to the Red House 
Wood, which for generations has been the property of the 
Slingsby s. After about a quarter of an hour a fox went away 
on the south side ; hounds were laid on and began to run 
sharply over Thickpenny Farm. The country was green and 
fenced with strong thorns, well cut and laid. As usual, Mr. 
Slingsby was going well to the front, and while putting his 
liorse at one of these bound fences it pecked heavily, throwing 
its rider on to his head with great force, breaking his neck. It 
is believed that death was instantaneous. Most of the field had 

go Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

gone on, not knowing anything had happened ; however, a few 
friends were near : one galloped off for a doctor and fortunately 
met one on his rounds in a car about two miles away. He 
instantly jumped up behind the messenger, and together they 
galloped back across country to where that pathetic figure 
was lying so still. 

Alas ! there was nothing to be done, the doctor pronounced 
life extinct ; the only comfort he could offer to those anxiously 
awaiting his verdict was that he could have suffered no pain. 

Then followed one of the most impressive scenes ever 
witnessed in the hunting-field. 

There had been no doctor out with the hounds that day, 
but there had been another hunting parson, the Rev. A. S. 
Crawley, rector of Bishopthorpe, one of the Archbishop's 
chaplains. The moment the doctor pronounced life extinct he 
held a service over his comrade as he lay in the field just where 
he had fallen. There came a " hush " while all the members 
and followers of the hunt gathered close around as if to keep him 
still with them, while in a voice shaken with emotion the rector 
from Bishopthorpe commended the soul of the " faithful " to 
the care of the Great Unknown. 

All lingered for a few moments in silent prayer, making a 
beautiful and striking picture, bent bare heads, scarlet coats 
and grief-stricken faces, some of the field having been sobered 
into realising for the first time that " in the midst of life we are 
in death." And what of the other silent witnesses, the birds 
and the beasts ? I wonder if any of my readers have ever 
noticed the restlessness of our faithful companions when in the 
presence of that great mystery which, for want of a better name, 
we call death ; the look that comes into their eyes betraying 
the understanding of a something of which they cannot speak, 
the look of something troubling them. 

I have seen it both in horses and dogs, and though I fear I 
am straying away from my subject, I must give one instance of 
this instinct, understanding, or whatever it may be in animals. 

A devoted little fox-terrier once quite broke me down when 
I was most needing my self-control. 

I was helping a dear friend to nurse her husband in India ; 
he was dying from dysentery and fever. The end was very 
near. His little fox-terrier that always slept on the end of his 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 91 

bed had been restless and miserable for some days, hardly 
taking his eyes from his master's face. 

We had wished to move poor " Pickles " some time before, 
but our patient objected and begged us not to take his pet awa3\ 

Suddenly the dog began to whine, poked his nose into the 
listless hand on the bed, stood still and stiff for a moment, 
looking enquiringly at the figure lying so still, then jumped off 
the bed and began to do all the tricks his master had taught him. 
First he stood on his head against the wall, which required the 
most careful manoeuvring ; then jumped round after his own 
tail, sat up and begged, brought his master's slippers ; then, 
receiving no applause, with frightened, worried eyes stood by 
the bed. 

We noticed a change come over our patient, and " Pickles " 
noticed it too, for suddenly his coat stood on end, and staring, 
he shivered and trembled, then throwing up his head, howled 
dismally. He would allow neither of us to touch him, not even 
the poor widow, who wished to weep with him. 

I wonder if Mr. Slingsby's mount knew what it had done. 
I think animals know and understand much more than we give 
them credit for. 

The funeral of Mr. Slingsby, or the " Squire," as many 
called him, took place at the quiet little parish church of Moor 
Monkton, on the Slingsby estate, as he had expressed a wish in 
his lifetime that when he was called away he would like to be 
laid to rest under the shadow of its nine-hundred-years-old 
walls and within sound of the bells. 

Anyone who thinks lightly of sporting parsons should have 
been at that service ; they would have felt for evermore ashamed 
of themselves, for they could not have failed to see how deeply 
loved and respected the " Squire " was, and would have heard 
many a whispered story of his goodness. Gratitude is not a 
marked feature in our present-day state of civilisation ; there 
must have been something very special about Mr. Slingsby to 
attract people and make them love him as they did. 

The coffin was made of plain oak from off the property, and 
was carried shoulder-high by retainers from the estate, preceded 
by the hunt servants in their scarlet coats. 

■ --j^A cross of scarlet geraniums rested on the coffin, beside 
which lay his whip and spurs. 

92 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Only a few of the hundreds who attended the funeral were 
able to find room in the church. 

The " Squire " was lowered into his moss and violet lined 
grave that had been arranged by the villagers' loving hands. 

As the parishioners who were unable to bring more costly 
tributes of affection filed past the open grave, they threw in 
sprigs of gorse from the whin close by, where but a few days 
before he had been hunting. 

The death of this fine old sporting parson gave rise to what 
I believe to be a unique incident in ecclesiastical history, namely, 
a sermon on Hunting Parsons by an Archbishop of the Estab- 
lished Church. 

On November 16th, 1913, the Archbishop of York dedicated 
a stained glass window and a memorial brass to Mr. Slingsby's 
memory at Moor Monkton Church. Both had been erected 
by members of the York and Ainsty hunt and a few other 

Before referring to this remarkable appreciation of a hunting 
parson by Archbishop Lang, I think the window and brass are 
worthy of description, and I should like to picture to those 
who have not seen the memorial something of its beauty. 

The subjects are so appropriate. On the left is Saint Hubert, 
patron saint of the chase. He is shown in hunting-dress, and 
the stag with the crucifix between the antlers is introduced by 
his side, which, according to the legend, appeared to the saint 
vfhen he was hunting in the forest and brought about his 
conversion. Saint Hubert was afterwards bishop of Liege. 

On the right-hand light is depicted Saint Francis of Assisi, 
the lover of nature. 

The saint is shown, according to the legend, ministering to 
the birds, which had assembled to meet him, and, having re- 
ceived his message, did not fly away until he gave them his 
blessing and made the sign of the Cross— when they formed 
themselves into the shape of a cross, and flew away east, west, 
south, and north, singing wondrous songs. 

Under the window in old English letters is : 

" To the glory of God, and in affectionate memory of the 
Rev. Charles Slingsby of Scriven Park, Knaresborough, who was 
killed while hunting on his own property, close to the Red 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 93 

House, on November 15th, 1912, in his 70th year, and buried in 
the Churchyard, this brass and window were erected by the 
members of the York and Ainsty Hunt and his friends in 

Here are some quotations from the address, which should be 
taken to heart by any anti-hunting cleric in the land, for it is 
quite free from dogmatism and the red tape of officialdom, and 
is inspired by that straightforward open-air Christianity of 
which the good squire's life had been emblematic. 

All in that crowded church were united by one great sym- 
pathy, dignified, impressive, picturesque. The Archbishop in 
his robes (attended by his Chaplain, who had held the little 
service in the field, and his apparitor, Mr. Bonner) delivered 
an address worthy of note, an exhortation to the living as well 
as a paean to the dead. 

Two Bible phrases were chosen as leit-motifs for the address : 
" A man of the field." and " A faithful priest." Archbishop 
Lang said : " Hunting is a sport which develops some of the 
finest qualities of human courage and endurance, readiness to 
face risks, comradeship. ... 

" There are many kindly courtesies, both to man and beast, 
which spring naturally from the sport of the field. . . ." 

Turning to the significance of hunting in these days of social 
unrest, he went on : 

" At a time when we know that one of our greatest dangers 
is the severance of the classes, here is something which quite 
simply, naturally, and spontaneously draws the classes together 
— peer and squire, business man and farmer meet upon a 
common ground. . . . 

" This, too, is a time when we are all doing what we can 
to think how to increase the resources, the pleasures, and the 
attractions of country life, and here is a sport which, once again 
quite simply and naturally, gives just such a special feature and 
interest to life in the country." 

Here His Lordship became somewhat entangled in the 
intricacies of hunting terminology, by referring to " even the 
labourer, when he feels the stirring of the meet, or sees the 
sudden burst of hounds and horses, gets just one of those fresh 
incidents, sights, and scenes in what otherwise is often a very 

94 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

monotonous life." If correctly reported he, of course, referred 
to the quickening of the pulses which even the labourer shares 
when confronted with the pageantry of sport ; and although not 
himself a sportsman, there can be no doubt as to his opinion of 
them, after the following passage : 

" I think it is true that some of the very best Yorkshire 
Christians who have ever lived have been keen sportsmen. ..." 

Then, as a last reference to Mr. Slingsby, he summed up his 
life admirably : 

" He was one of those — and I think there should be more of 
them in the ranks of the clergy — who loved the country for its 
own sake, who loved the people, the birds and the beasts who 
inhabit it." 

So Mr. Slingsby was " A man of the field," but he was also 
a " faithful priest." For thirty-six years of his life he had been 
an earnest, faithful servant of the Church in Yorkshire. 

After this appreciation from the Archbishop any description 
of mine concerning Mr. Slingsby would be superfluous. 

The Slingsbys are an old north-country family who fought 
for their king in the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The monuments 
in Knaresborough Church attest the antiquity and fame of the 

One of Mr. Charles Slingsby's ancestors. Sir William Slings- 
by, was the reputed discoverer of Harrogate mineral springs ; 
he was Commissioner-General in 1595 and honorary Carver to 
Anne, Queen Consort, in 1603 ; in that same year he was 
knighted. He was a great traveller, and during his journeyings 
tasted the chalybeate waters in Germany and at once recognised 
the virtue of what is known as the " Old Spa " or Tewitt well 
on the Spray at Harrogate. This was about 1596, when the 
whole district was merely part of the old Forest, and Knares- 
borough the chief town. It was not, however, until nearly a 
hundred years later that the valuable properties of the waters 
became recognised, and for a long time there was only one inn, 
or hotel, as we should now name it, where people could stay. 

Sir William's son Henry also gave this country something 
by which he may be remembered. As Master of the Mint in the 
time of Charles II. he was author of the motto on the coinage, 
" Decus et Tutamen." 

During the two hundred and thirty years that have passed 

n'si* in^P'^r'T' -pin "^^A 

0,0 t(]p (Sino uf (^ab and in affprtionat? mpmofi^ rf 
allF iRpb. (Ilbflp|p5 i^lingsbg of ii^rribpnf ank^JnancsbnciJoql;. 
idIjd toflfi Nllpii tufiilst t|anting un his Dton jirappiitj dose ta KpI 
'^OHap un tijp 15*? i^0bptnbpr,l912, in Ills 70'!^^eai{md boijiwlin 
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^{[p l^i^aas. 



[Facing p. 9i 



















The Rev. Charles Slingsby 95 

since the granting of the first baronetcy there have been 
seven generations of the family at Scriven, and no fewer than 
five of the holders of the title died unmarried or without 

Beyond the heirlooms in the house of Scriven there is little 
to show of its associations with mediaeval times. 

In Sir Henry Slingsby's time (the Royalist), in his diary he 
refers to " that rotten house at Scriving." So unsatisfactory 
was it at that time, that it became necessary to borrow furniture 
from his tenants before he, his wife, and daughter could stay 
there on taking possession. 

I must refer again for a moment to the ferry-boat disaster 
when Sir Charles Slingsby lost his life, as I have heard so many 
different versions of the accident and what everybody did in the 
excitement of the moment, I hardly know what to believe. One 
eye-witness told me Mr. Clare Vyner was the only man to save 
life that day ; another tells me that Mr. Meysey Thompson 
received the Humane Society's medal for saving life on that 
fatal day, and he was the only person who did so. 

Then, again, there has been some controversy as to the 
number of Vyners present on the boat ; some say Captain Bob 
was there as well as Mr. Clare, but this was not the case, for 
Captain Bob witnessed the accident when on the banks of the 
river with Lord Harewood and Lord Downe : all were trying to 
think of some way of helping those in the water, but the accident 
happened on the far side of the river. 

At last Captain Bob Vyner, unable to bear inaction any 
longer, pulled off his boots and plunged into the angry swollen 
river and all but succeeded in rescuing Mr. Lloyd ; but he was a 
big heavy man and too much for Captain Bob, who had to give 
up his heroic efforts and make for the banks, being himself in an 
exhausted condition. 

After a few moments to regain his breath he once more 
plunged in, and with help from the bank in the shape of planks, 
lashed whips, etc., was able to assist in saving one or two who 
were nearly drowned. 

Poor Mr. Robinson, who had hunted regularly for years 
with the York and Ainsty, occupying rooms in York each winter 
for that express purpose, and who was known amongst his 
friends as " Fluffy," had always had a marked dislike to crossing 

96 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

water, even at a ford ; he also had a strong feehng about 
thirteen being an unlucky number. 

By the kind permission of Horse and Hound I give below 
some verses composed by a Scarborough hairdresser in con- 
nection with this accident. 

The Key below answers to the number, which may be of 
assistance to those not well acquainted with Yorkshire an;] 
Yorkshire folk. 

A Memorable Day 


The York and Ainsty Foxhounds 
At Stainley House, 
Feb. 4th, 1869. 

A POEM by Alfred John Tugwell, Scarboro'. 
Published in the Yorkshire Chronicle, Feb. 13th, 1869. 

" Good morning, gentlemen ! Good morn ! 

I'm glad to see you here ! — 
Keep off that hound, sir, if you please — 

Don't bring your horse too near. 

" Good morning, Downe ! (i) You're down for sport. 

Ah, Lascelles, {^) how d'ye do ? 
Fine day. Sir George ! (*) Well, Robinson ! (*) 

How are you, Molyneux ? (*) 

"The scent vnW lie this morning, Lloyd, (*) 

Make ready for the fun ; 
A fox was seen in Monkton Whin, 

We're safe to get a run. 

" Come, Mussenden, (') we'll move away ; 

I see 'tis half -past ten." 
Thus spake Sir Charles, (8) the gentleman 

Of Yorksliire's gentlemen. 

The whin was tried, and Reynard broke 

The gorse without delay. 
Sir Charles exclaimed, " Pull up your girths, 

We'll show you sport to-day." 

The hounds were laid upon the scent, 

Their music filled the air ; 
The boldest riders rushed in front, 

And all was bright and fair. 

The fox was of a right good sort ; 

He gaily led the chase 
O'er meadow, fallow, dale, and hill. 

Nor ever slacked Ixis pace. 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 97 

For sixty minutes he defied 

The York and Ainsty hounds, 
Then ran towards the river Ure, 

Near Lady Mary's grounds. (») 

He took the stream right gallantly, 

And laved his weary flanks ; 
He lapped a cool, refreshing draught. 

Then climbed the northern banks. 

The hoimds dashed in the swollen stream, (^o) 

All keen upon their prey ; 
The foremost horsemen eyed the flood 

With doubt and dark dismay. 

Sir Charles cried out, " We'll ride down stream. 

And take the ferry-boat — 
As oft before we've had to do — 

And o'er the water float." 

A score of horsemen galloped fast 

Down to the wherry side. 
All eager to secure a place, 

And cross the rushing tide. 

They urged the boatman (^^) to be quick. 

Also the boatman's son ; 
Or they would mar the royal sport 

Of such a splendid run. 

Full soon the wherry-boat contained 

Within its ample space (i*) 
Sir Charles and ten more men (^») with steeds. 

Intent upon the chase. 

The boat was pushed from off the shore. 

And as she left the strand 
The only men whose hearts were sad 

Were those upon the land. 

Just then Sir Charies's " Old Saltfish " (i*) 

Grew restive, kicked and shied ; 
He reared aloft, then madly plunged 

Beneath the surging tide. 

Sir Charles was dragged into the deep ; 

A rush was made to save ; 
The boat capsized, when steeds and men 

Were struggling 'neath the wave. 

Clare Vyner was the first to rise. 

And seized the upturned boat ; 
He scrambled up its slimy side. 

And kept himself afioat. 

He saw Sir George, of Newburgh Park, 

Stern, resolute, and brave ; 
He grasped his manly form, and saved 

Him from a watery grave. 

, H 

98 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

The men upon the bank now strove 

To lend a helping hand. 
By logs of wood, and whipthongs tied, 

Brought many safe to land. 

" But where is Slingsby ? Edward Lloyd ? 

The Warriners ? The ' Whip ' ? 
Ned Robinson ? Can it be true 

Death holds them in his grip ? 

" Speak ! speak ! and tell if they be safe, 

Ye men who stand around ! 
Have any seen them come ashore, 

Or have they all been drowned ? " 

Sir Charles and Lloyd were seen to swim 

Towards the southern bank ; 
When, quite exhausted and outspent. 

They in the middle sank. 

" Go fetch some boats, and poles, and lines, 

We'll drag the river's bed ; 
Strain every nerve to save each man — 

They may not yet be dead ! " 

Four boats were brought, the river searched — 

Alas ! 'twas all in vain ; 
Six bodies to the surface came 

That ne'er would breathe again. 

Eight horses, too, were drowned that day, 

Of purest hunting blood ; 
•' Old Saltfish," who had caused the woe, 

Was rescued from the flood. 

Poor SHngsby's watch had stopped at 

Fifty minutes after one, 
Precisely indicating when 

The deadly work was done. 

• • • • 

Thus closed in darkest gloom the day, 

A day so well begun. 
Ah ! sure, no hunting page can tell 

Of such a fatal run. 

Ye men of England's noblest sport 

Together mingle tears ; 
Bow down the head in silent grief 

Around these mournful biers. 

Prepare a set of marble scrolls, 

Erect them o'er their graves ; 
Portraying how these gallant men 

Were drowned beneath the waves. 


(1) Viscount Downe, of Danby Lodge. (2) Lord Lascelles, of Harewood. 
(3) Sir George Wombwell, of Newburgh Park. (4) Edmund Robmson, Esq., of 
Thorpe Green. (5) Captain Molyneux, Thorpe Arch. (6) Edward Lloyd, Esq., 
of Lingcroft. (7) Major Mussenden, 8th Hussars. (8) Sir Charles Shngsby, of 

The Rev. Charles Slingsby 99 

Scriven Park,* Master of the pack. (9) Lady Mary Vyner, of Newby Hall. (10) 
About sixty yards wide. (11) C. Warriner and son, gardeners and ferrymen at 
Newby Hall. (12) Nine and a half yards long by three and a half yards wide. 
(13) Sir Charles Slingsby, Sir George Wombwell, Major Mussenden, the Hon. 
Henry and Captain Molyneux, Captain Key (Fulford), Clare Vyner, Esq. 
(Newby Hall), E. Lloyd, Esq., E. Robinson, Esq., Captain White, 15th Hussars, 
W. Orvis, the " Whip," C. Warriner and son. (14) Sir Charles Slingsby's old 
and favourite hunter. 

1 Scriven Park is now in the occupation of Sir Eric Geddes. 

Chapter IX 

Dean Hole — Church Reformer — Horticulturist — Raconteur — Youthful Artist- 
Love of Games — "Wrote Plays at the Age of Ten — Dramatic Scenes — First Ac- 
cepted Poem — Experiences of the Wicked World — Owes £300 — Talk of Duels 
— Early Hunting Days — A Lethargic Mount — Overcome with Grief — Some 
Rufford Meets — Lord Manners' Impressive Arrival — Sarcasm — Wellington 
with the Belvoir — John Leech Fawned on — Famous Archers — A Forgotten 
Custom — Dean Hole to the Rescue — Thackeray and Sir John Tenniel — The 
Dean Organises Rose-Shows — Breaks the Law — His Views on Temperance. 

NOT SO very many years ago no big rose-show would have 
been complete without the burly figure of Dean Hole 
towering above the crowd with his six feet three inches 
of height and careless mass of silvered hair, from under which 
his kindly eyes smiled on everybody. Author, horticulturist, 
Church reformer, sportsman, and brilliant raconteur, Dean Hole 
was one of the best-known and most striking Church of England 
clerics throughout the best part of the nineteenth century. He 
was a surprisingly versatile man, and among his other accom- 
plishments might, by his own account, have also been an artist 
if his mother had not discouraged him from painting his baby 
sister with his first sixpenny box of paints ! 

What art lost the Church gained on this occasion, for Hole 
was destined to bring the influence of a commanding personality 
into the ecclesiastical field at a time when the Church had fallen 
on evil days and needed just such men as Hole and Kingsley, 
who both did incalculable good, each after his own fashion ; 
but I touch on Dean Hole's clerical activities more fully 

As a sportsman his experience was a wide one, including the 
now more or less defunct archery. Cricket he loved, and 
remained a member of several cricket clubs till late in life ; he 
believed in the game as a first-class amusement for the working- 
man, and therefore to be supported with all the means at his 
disposal. He was often the guest of both cricket and football 
clubs. Fishing he was fond of, but was a better shot than 

The Rev. Dean Hole loi 

fisherman, and took out game licences without a break for half 
a century ; while he hunted steadily all his life until old age 
and seventeen stone made him reluctantly give up riding. 

His early youth was spent at Caunton Manor, Newark, his 
parents' home, and he abandoned the demure joys of a rocking- 
horse for the fiercer delights of pony-riding at the age of four, 
when the family coachman took this branch of his education in 
hand. Before he was many years older the leading rein was 
abandoned and a cob supplanted the pony. When he was 
about ten he began writing plays, which he acted with his little 
sister. That he had an eye for dramatic situations is clear from 
the first act of one of these plays, which begins : Act. I. — 
" Enter a man swimming for his life." If he had lived in the 
days of cinema play-writing he would have had a great success ! 
Our present-day actor-managers have their little weaknesses, 
and it was not surprising that, being author-actor-manager, 
Hole should write leading parts for himself in which he nearly 
always appeared in the admiration-compelling role of a hero 
just returning from the field of battle. Wearying of the drama, 
he took to verse, and actually got a poem about the death of 
William IV. accepted by the Nottingham Journal, which was 
not bad for a ten-year-old. 

It was a toss-up whether he should go into the army — ^those 
were the days of bought commissions, which the Duke of 
Cambridge maintained were the backbone of the army, and 
without which the Service would go to pieces — or whether he 
should go to Oxford. The latter scheme was adopted, but 
first of all he sallied out to see the world. Judging by his plays 
he was a youth who longed for adventures ; and if this was so, 
he was not long in finding one, for no sooner had he arrived in 
Paris than he fell in with three most agreeable fellow-countrymen 
whose charm of manner and dashing worldliness quite fascinated 
the boy. Having first taken the precaution of leading him to 
a shooting-gallery, where they impressed him with their remark- 
able skill with pistols, they proceeded to stand him a dinner in 
the most hospitable manner, after which they played cards 
until he was in their debt to the tune of something like £300. 

He rose to the occasion remarkably well, considering he was 
a mere boy and thrown entirely on his own resources for the first 
time. He felt sure he had been cheated, and calmly announced 

102 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that until he had made certain enquiries about them next day 
he did not propose to settle up ! Of course this caused much 
wild and whirling talk of instant satisfaction, duels to the 
death, and so on, but he stuck to his guns and went back to his 
hotel. Next morning enquiries at the office of the Procureur du 
Roy elicited the information that his charming friends of the 
night before were notorious sharpers, and he heard no more of 
them. What seemed to tickle him most about the affair was 
that while he had paid them nothing, they had given him an 
excellent champagne dinner. 

The first cob on which he hunted was of a lethargic tempera- 
ment, and occasionally gave a deep sigh and slowly lay down 
from sheer boredom while waiting outside a covert. Slight 
refreshers were necessary with the whip to cut short these dozes. 
A much more curious instance, more or less of the same sort, 
happened to him later in life while hacking home on a very old 
but excellent hunter. It suddenly stopped and appeared to 
drop dead under him. Overcome with grief, he extricated 
himself and stood by the body of his old favourite, thinking 
over all the beautiful traits in its character and mourning its loss. 
He had almost made up his mind to remove its saddle and bridle 
and leave it alone in its glory, when the horse came to life and 
began carelessly cropping the grass within its reach, while it 
settled itself into a still more comfortable position. Like the 
mother who heartily spanks the child that has just failed to be 
run over by a motor-car, the Dean's grief suddenly turned to 
indignation, and the rest of the homeward journey was per- 
formed at a smart trot. 

He had very decided views on whether parsons should hunt 
or not. He believed they should certainly hunt, or enjoy any 
other manly sport, so long as it did not involve betting or 
interfere with their work or embarrass them financially. His 
own limit was one day a week with hounds. Another rule he 
would have liked to make Avas that if a parson wished to hunt he 
must ride straight, otherwise he had better stop at home. He 
often expressed this view, and I must say I do not agree with it. 

He rode hard himself, while in his prime, but I cannot see 
why a parson or anybody else who goes hunting as a relaxation 
from work should not enjoy himself in his own way, so long as 
he docs not interfere with anybody else. He may be riding a 

The Rev. Dean Hole 103 

fat cob which is also the only thing his wife has to drive ; he 
may be fat himself, or infirm ; he may honestly prefer to potter 
— a thousand good and sufficient reasons might be given why 
he should not ride hard or straight which would be quite 
satisfactory to my mind. 

In the case of the parson it is perhaps different ; it would 
not be conducive to mutual respect if the parishioners thought 
him a funk and he was aware of the fact, and no one knows 
better than the parson how ready his flock is to criticise ; so 
no doubt Dean Hole thought the parson should ride straight as 
an indication of strength of character, pluck, and so forth, even 
at the risk of laying up the family cob. 

His views were much the same about women hunting. He 
said he liked to see any number of them at the meet, but he 
would wish only those who were really competent and ex- 
perienced horsewomen to follow the pack across country. In 
those days they wore the dangerous long habit, and only rode 
on side-saddles, so that he had the argument that these two facts 
added materially to their danger. This was true to some extent, 
I dare say, but I disagree with him even then. One hears the 
same sort of thing being said by the older generation to this day. 
I contend that those who really desire to exclude the other half 
of the human race from the field should stay at home them- 
selves, and then their sensibilities would not be hurt. 

In his early days he hunted with the Rufford in the palmy 
days of the " Dukeries," when their meets were " a thing to see 
and marvel at," for nearly all the ducal homes in the neighbour- 
hood were occupied by their owners, and peers of all the lesser 
denominations abounded. Clumber, Welbeck, and Worksop 
Manor all sent their contingents to the Rufford meets, which 
would have delighted the hearts of latter-day tourists from the 
other side of the Atlantic on account of the methods some of the 
bigwigs saw fit to employ to come to the trysting-place. 

Lord Manners usually arrived in an open carriage, drawn by 
four horses ridden by postilions in cherry-coloured jackets, not 
to mention a couple of prancing outriders. The noble earl 
seems to have outrivalled the late Lord George Sanger both in 
the matter of taste and splendour. Perhaps it was only to be 
expected, after all this, that Lord Manners' arrival was con- 
siderably more impressive than his performance when mounted, 

104 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

for he jogged about in the wake of the hunt with a groom to 
open gates for him. One day a stranger came out who was of 
the same turn of mind, and pottered about after Lord Manners 
until the latter could stand it no longer, so he turned on his 
unwelcome follower and said, " Sir, for many years I have 
enjoyed the exclusive privilege of being last in this hunt " — 
which was almost as good as Lord Henry Bentinck's masterly 
rebuke to a man who galloped madly through the pack at a 
check on a staring ewe-necked mount he could not hold, 
" May I ask, sir, do you smell the fox ? " 

Lord Scarborough also thought it becoming to go to meets 
in a resplendent four-in-hand. Brave times, no doubt, but 
fashions change, and, speaking literally, I suppose these days of 
the great war are the bravest days the world has ever seen. 
The modern subaltern would be surprised to know that at least 
two officers went into action at Waterloo carrying umbrellas 
without apparently occasioning any surprise or comment ! 

While Dean Hole's brother-in-law, Mr. Francklin, was 
Master of the Rufford, he improved the pack considerably by 
introducing Belvoir blood. Hole married Miss Caroline Franck- 
lin in 1861, daughter of Mr. Francklin of Gonalston, in Not- 

The only time Hole hunted with "the Belvoir was while the 
great Duke of Wellington was visiting that country, and all the 
neighbourhood turned out in its thousands to see the General. 
They crowded the hillside at the meets just as the vast con- 
course did at the pre-war opening meets of the Devon and 
Somerset staghounds on Cloutsham Ball. In these days it is 
difficult to think of anybody for whom half the county would 
turn out at a meet purely for the pleasure of gaping. The 
forms that hero-worship often took in those days fairly set 
twentieth-century teeth on edge (those few twentieth-century 
people who have any). When John Leech attended one of the 
annual Fetes des Roses given by Hole, the guests literally 
fawned on him, calling him by such names as " Delight of the 
Nation," and so on. They also continually pestered the 
unhappy man by drinking his health in claret-cup. 

The standard of taste has altered, surely for the better, and 
it is now almost inconceivable how they can have been so gross. 
The classic example of this sort of thing was on the occasion of 

The Rev. Dean Hole 105 

Doctor Johnson's tour in the Hebrides, when the conversation 
on one occasion turned on some lady's indiscretion. The 
daughter of the house turned to the learned but uncouth Doctor, 
saying, " Ah, sir ! if she had had such a son as you, would 
not her offence have been excused ? " We are told that 
Johnson was immensely pleased by this charming remark. 

It is curious how small social changes take place and are 
immediately forgotten. When Hole was a young man, and 
archery was still fashionable, he was friends with most of the 
famous archers of the day, such as Higginson, Hippesley, and 
Peckett — household names then, but now they sound quite 
strange to the ear. At that time it was an ordinary thing to see 
three or four earnest gentlemen sitting round the library fire 
dabbing their fingers with lightning-like rapidity on a hot 
poker in their efforts to make their finger-tips hard for using the 
bow-string. It was on one of these occasions, while Hole was 
staying with people for an archery meeting, that his hostess's 
dress was set on fire by the hot poker, and was extinguished by 
Hole rolling her up in one of the dressing-gowns men wore 
while smoking their after-dinner cigars — another forgotten 
custom of yesterday. Imagine the surprise of a dinner host of 
to-day asking his guest to have a cigar and getting the answer, 
" Thanks, but just wait a moment while I fetch my dressing- 
gown ! " These little things are not remembered because 
contemporary writers never think of mentioning them, which is 
a great pity, for the value of autobiographical writers to suc- 
ceeding generations mainly depends on these very details, as 
witness, for instance, Pepys and Boswell. 

Hole's archery was brought to an untimely end by his cutting 
his thumb so badly that it spoilt his grip of the bow for ever 
after, which was a great grief to him, as he was a very good 
amateur performer. People got bitten with archery then just 
as they now do with golf, and solemn warnings used to be 
launched against them giving up too much time to it. 

Dean Hole was the happy possessor of a keen sense of 
humour, which is the gift above all others that helps most to 
give its owner happiness. His good stories were proverbial, 
and made him beloved of hostesses at dinner-parties ; but most 
of his stories have already been recorded, I am afraid. 

He was a great admirer of the Americans, our kinsmen, who 

io6 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

transcend us in many things —hard work, secular education, and 
inventive genius— but found it difficult to live up to their 
strenuousness when on arrival at midnight in an hotel in New 
York he was invited through the keyhole of his bedroom door 
to commence a conversation with a gentleman outside who 
" bid him discourse " just when prepared to become a companion 
of the bath. Some of the enquiries were complicated and 
required more consideration than the opportunity seemed to 
suggest ! The interrogator asked in rapid succession what the 
Dean thought of New York City, Oliver Cromwell, and the 
intermediate state ! 

He had a very amusing story he told extremely well of a 
dinner-party he went to at the house of an aged lady who was 
accustomed to have a hot foot-warmer placed under the table 
to keep her toes warm. The guests entered the dining-room 
while the footman was still under the table putting the foot- 
warmer in position, and the people sat down. Hearing a slight 
commotion under the table, the old lady took it to be the pet 
retriever, and called, " Rollo, Rollo ! come out, Rollo ! " and 
affectionately patted the agonised man's head as it emerged 
from under the table-cloth ! 

Another, story he tells in his own Memoirs is of a clergyman 
who observed that the congregation was large and that there 
was only one collection-plate, so he told a rustic parishioner to 
run over to the vicarage, enter the dining-room by the open 
French windows, and bring one of the plates he would find on 
the sideboard. This the yokel did, and took his plate up one 
side of the church while the usual plate was taken up the other. 
At the end of the collection he came to the vicar and whispered, 
" I took the plate all up the aisle, but nobody would take one." 
The plate was full of biscuits ! 

I think most people have heard the one about a bygone Lady 
Cork who was so much moved by the sermon one Sunday that 
she borrowed a sovereign from the man sitting next her to put 
in the collection. The sovereign, however, went into Lady 
Cork's collection, as when the plate came along she could 
neither bring herself to put it in nor return it to the man ! 

Mr. Hole's university career was like that of thousands of 
others. He went up determined to work hard, and read 
furiously ; then he read steadily ; then read with weariness, 

The Rev. Dean Hole 107 

and then hunted regularly with the Bicester and Heythrop. 
In after years he hunted with any pack he could get out with, 
but only had one day with the Quorn. It was a great day for 
him, and he never forgot the delight he felt in galloping across 
the elastic turf after the heavy clay countries he had been 
accustomed to. To use his own robust metaphor, taking fences 
was like " leaping from a spring-board to an athlete." 

Literary and artistic people always got on well with him. 
He and John Leech once went to Ireland together for a holiday 
and enjoyed themselves very much. Leech sketching everything 
he came across, including a sneeze and the smell of Cork harbour, 
while Hole wrote an account of their wanderings which was 
afterwards published. They even hunted together sometimes, 
but Leech was no thruster and told Hole that his ideal mount 
was one on which he could carry an umbrella in a hailstorm. 
One reason why Leech did not take many risks was that he had 
once broken his arm and was afraid that a second fracture 
might ruin his drawing. He hacked quietly about, watching 
the field with his keen artist's eyes that saw so much that others 

While the field was jumping a fence on the way from one 
covert to another one day, he drew Hole aside to watch each 
person's way of taking the business, and told his companion to 
notice that no two riders and no two horses would be quite 
alike in their methods ; and sure enough, they were not. Apart 
from the broad difference between those that jumped big and 
landed wildly, and those that crashed sluggishly through 
rather than over, there were a thousand subtle differences, such 
as the riders who went at it with a great show of determination 
but did not like it in their hearts, and managed to communicate 
their faintness of heart to their horses ; and those whose joyous 
determination seemed to almost lift reluctant mounts over the 
obstacle by sheer force of will. 

Leech makes Hole appear in several Punch pictures of the 
day, notably one in which a dashing youth describes a capital 
run he has had " with only five falls." Thackeray, Sir John 
Tenniel, and four editors of Punch were among Hole's friends, 
and he dined at the famous Punch round table at which forth- 
coming cartoons were discussed. I believe he was the only 
outsider who ever attended this editorial dinner, with the 

io8 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

exception of Sir Joseph Paxton, whose name is now immortahsed 
by a particularly luscious strawberry named after him. Such is 
fame ! and how few of us will be immortalised even by a straw- 

As a gardener, Dean Hole knew as much about plants and 
flowers as any man of his time. He had a beautiful fancy that 
perhaps it is some dim remembrance of Paradise lost that makes 
little children love flowers. 

At one time he owned four thousand rose-trees, and was so 
great an authority on the subject that rose-growers from all 
over the country sent him specimens for his criticism or advice, 
which he was always glad to give, although he used to get rather 
annoyed with people v/ho would send roses packed in frail 
cardboard boxes on which the postman invariably seemed to 
have trodden. He organised the first National Rose Show, and 
was always in demand as a judge at flower-exhibitions all over 
England. In time he became an expert in detecting the cloven 
hoof, which makes its appearance even at such apparently 
innocent things as flower-shows. 

I always pictured the exhibitors at flower-shows as sylph- 
like beings with guileless faces and utterly ignorant of all 
mundane vices. I liked to think of them dancing through the 
dew, bearing posies to the flower-show, and singing as they 
came ; but apparently I was all wrong. One sylph, for in- 
stance, exhibited twelve varieties of a plant, having secretly 
hired half of them for the occasion from a florist. Hole got 
wind of this and drove off post-haste to the exhibitor's garden 
to verify the facts, and was in time to prevent the first prize 
being awarded to the fraudulent twelve, so that when the 
expectant sylph arrived he found, not the prize card, but one 
bearing the words : " Disqualified and Expelled from the 

Gardening was not nearly so universally popular in Hole's 
early days as it is now, and the fashion was for stiff, formal 
gardens ; but he liked broad effects best with plenty of grass and 
trees and no straight lines. When in town, he often escaped 
from the noise of the streets by flying to Veitch's nurser}^- 
garden in the King's Road, Chelsea, where he had known the 
proprietors for two generations and could spend congenial hours 
in their glass-houses whenever he liked ; and he was never tired 

The Rev. Dean Hole 109 

of fussing over flowers, whether it was in advising as to the laying 
out of somebody's vast new pleasure-grounds or tending the 
humble window-box. 

His first achievement with a gun was to shoot a partridge in 
August, thereby breaking a leash of laws : carrying a gun 
without a licence, shooting game without a game licence, and 
shooting game out of season. This bad start for a high eccle- 
siastical career happened when he was a very small boy, and 
a great admirer of the village good-for-nothing. One day he 
accompanied this worthy to the cornfields, where he was 
employed as a bird-scarer. Hole borrowed his ancient muzzle- 
loader, which was charged to the muzzle with copious doses of 
powder, shot, and newspaper wads, and set out to stalk a yellow- 
hammer, but in the middle of the stalk a family of partridges 
whirred over and the excitement of the moment was too much 
for him. He discharged his formidable piece of ordnance at 
the covey and brought down a bird, at which both he and the 
village good-for-nothing were panic-stricken. Fortunately the 
crime remained undiscovered and is still unpunished. 

When he grew older and was given a gun of his own, he went 
through a strict course of training, his father making the 
excellent rule that whenever the boy presented him with a view 
of the muzzle he should be sent home. By this means he learnt 
to be a careful shot, a thing that can only be taught when young. 
It seems to be an undoubted fact that people who have got into 
the habit of carelessness when young can never wholly get out 
of it afterwards. In his time he shot in some of the best 
pheasant-shoots in the country, but good rough shooting was 
his favourite form of the sport. He could enjoy himself with a 
dog and a ferret on a frosty morning among the rabbits quite as 
well as at a swagger battue. In one of his books he has some 
unfavourable comments on modern shooting methods. Most 
people will agree with him in what he says about the shooting 
of semi-tame hand-reared birds, but then he goes on to compare 
the frugal shooting-lunches of his youth with the spreads of 
to-day. He illustrates this by describing a typical lunch under 
the trees, enjoyed in his young days. 

It consisted of Irish stew, puffs, cheesecakes, peaches, beer, 
sherry, and brandy. It all sounds very nice, but I am bound to 
say. in justice to modernity, that I have seen shooting-lunches 

no sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that were no more elaborate as regards food, and considerably 
less elaborate in the matter of drinkables, even in the much 
maligned times of milk and honey that immediately preceded 
the war. Indeed, I should have thought the shooting of the 
guns after beer, sherry, and brandy would have been far from 
good. I could have shown them very fine shoots in the south 
of England where they would have been offered nothing to 
drink but cider. 

I have devoted most space to Hole as a sportsman, but it 
would be wildly wrong to regard him as more sportsman than 
cleric. He was a cleric first, and everything else as an after- 
thought. He was a popular and very human preacher and 
platform orator, while his early love of writing lasted all his life 
and caused him to write sheaves of witty and charming letters 
which have been collected and produced in book form ; also a 
number of books, some on religious subjects and others on 
gardening. His " Memoirs " are very interesting and amusing, 
and have been of great use to me in compiling his sporting 

As I have said, he was one of the principal champions who 
brought new life to the Church of England in its dark days of 
what the decorous call " depression," and the profane " slump." 
The desertion of two such brilliant men as Manning and Newman 
to the Church of Rome was only a sign of the times, and their 
example was followed by innumerable smaller fry. The 
gloomiest forebodings were freely expressed that the Church was 
on its last legs. I have described in another chapter how 
Kingsley rushed into the breach with his Christian socialism. 
Hole's remedy was to brighten things up by what lukewarm 
people call " High Church " methods, and the hostile critics 
savagely denounce as " Popery " — that vague but ever- 
terrifying word ! 

He worked very hard for the new movement and was 
eminently successful in diffusing new energy into the ancient 
structure of the Church. Of course he and his co-reformers 
met with opposition, but that only served to spur them onwards 
with the fine fury which the word " crusade " always awakens, 
and added the vitalising sense of fighting against odds. It may 
seem curious now that most of the Bishops opposed their 
efforts. To the mere lay mind it seems obvious enough that 

The Rev. Dean Hole iii 

reforms were needed, what with the viscous system of plural 
livings and the inevitable result — non-resident parsons. In many 
cases even the curates they employed to do their work lived 
miles outside their parishes ; but Bishops are kittle cattle ! 

Dean Hole's idea was to have frequent and bright services, 
with plenty of good music ; he liked to see bands and other 
forms of instrumental music in church in addition to the organ, 
and he had some quite exciting times with the " No-Popery " 
people. The first parsons to adopt the white surplice were 
often hooted at, and the Primitive Methodists held meetings 
with great clamour outside his church as a sort of protest. This 
went on until some genius thought of an effective counterblast. 
They held a bell-ringing practice whenever the Methodists 
clamoured, and it proved so successful that the enemy had to 
remove its meeting elsewhere. 

At the time that Hole was a curate, earning £100 a year, he 
heard village orators assuring their hearers that he was a 
bloated aristocrat with a salary of £1,000 a year, and was also 
an intimate friend of the Pope. It seemed as if nothing the 
clergy could do was right — a position, it seems to me, that was 
not peculiar to that era alone. Again and again I have noticed 
in villages that if the parson visits his parishioners he is called 
a busybody, and if he does not, he is slack and they wonder 
what he is paid for. Hole said clergymen were like the flying 
fish, that are seized by albatrosses if they fly and are devoured 
by dolphins when they return to the water. 

His views on the temperance question were strong, and he 
opposed the prohibitionists tooth and nail, believing that the 
proper way to combat drunkenness was to improve public- 
houses and educate the populace out of bad ways. I have heard 
vitriolic prohibitionists describe this attitude, which is the one 
generally adopted by the " moderates," as being ready to do 
anything to mitigate the evil except cure it ; which seems 
rather unkind, but I am content to leave its refutation to abler 

Dean Hole died in 1904, at the age of eighty-five, one of the 
best-loved and most respected men of his generation. 

Chapter X 

The Rev. E. Chard—" Bishop " of the Taunton Vale— The Hero of Rorke's 
Drift — If I were a Parson — Isandula — England Dumb — ^The Burning Hos- 
pital — Hatch Beauchamp Church — Queen Victoria's Wreath — The Hero's 
Last Days — The Farmers' Friend — A Gentle Voice — A Confidential Whisper 
— A Martyr to Gout — A Strange Coincidence — Between Here and There — The 
Rev. John Froude, M.F.H. — An Unruly Member — Bishop of Exeter Remon- 
strates — Mr. Froude is Saucy — An Interview — The Bishop tries Again — He 
Smells Rats — A Faithful Partner — Some Sporting Sermons — The Rev. Jack 
Michell — An Epoch-making Run — Master of the Cotleigh Harriers — Endur- 
ing Hunters — Badger Hunting — Mr. Michell's Charity — He Shames a Thief 
— An Enthusiastic Fisherman — Advice when Shooting — A Song well Sung. 

IN the Taunton Vale country " The Bishop " is still sadly 
missed. It is curious how well known this nickname was ; 
indeed, many people knew him by no other. 

When staying in Northumberland a year or two ago, I was 
asked if I knew what " The Bishop's " real name was, and was 
glad to have an opportunity of telling a houseful of hunting 
people about the Rev. E. Chard, rector of Hatch Beauchamp, in 
Somersetshire, for I knew they would appreciate all I had to 
tell of this sporting, kindly, and popular parson. 

For fifteen years parson Chard acted as honorary secretary 
to the Taunton Vale foxhounds, and it says much for the beauty 
of his character that at the end of these years he still could not 
bring himself to believe or see harm in anyone. Just think 
of it in this mind-our-own-business, out-of-sight-out-of-mind 
world ! 

He was the youngest of the three sons of William Wheaton 
Chard, of Pathe, Somerset, and Mount Tamar, Devonshire ; he 
must have been a proud man to have three such distinguished 
sons ! 

The eldest of the three, Colonel Wheaton Chard, commanded 
the 7th Fusiliers, had a distinguished career, and died at the age 
of fifty — a comparatively young man. 

The second son. Colonel John Chard, Royal Engineers, of 
whom I cannot think or write without thrills, was the 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 113 

hero of Rorke's Drift, on January 22nd, 1879, when he — then 
Lieutenant Chard — and Lieutenant Bromhead, 24th Regiment, 
accomplished ahnost superhuman tasks in defending the hospital 
and the stores when taken by surprise and surrounded by three 
thousand Zulus. 

This is not the place to recount the magnificence of those 
men's bravery, for I am writing about parsons, but it is im- 
possible to mention the name of Chard without referring to it, 
and I would like to recount the story afresh every year, so that 
the rising generations may hear all about it, and be fired with 
the hero-worship so inspiring and good for any son of man. 

If I were a parson I would set apart special days to preach 
sermons on the lives of some of these great men ; I would take 
them for my text ; I would point out what possibilities lie 
within us all of forgetting self -what it is that makes men stand 
out like beacons in the hours of darkness and strife. 

I can remember that black January, 1879, when the news 
of the awful disaster at Isandula reached England, and we were 
dumb with grief at the thought of all our brave soldiers that 
perished there, marched to their death with contradictory orders 
and insufficient ammunition. We felt crushed as a nation, 
broken-hearted as individuals. 

Quickly on top of this blow came the news of the attack on 
Rorke's Drift, held against such overwhelming numbers by a 
handful of England's best. It was here Lieutenant Chard, 
taken by surprise, without even time to cut down the bush 
surrounding them, which gave such excellent cover for the 
enemy, quickly made defences of biscuit -tins, all with him 
following his orders and working hard. 

At the last moment the Natal native contingent, dis- 
heartened at the disaster at Isandula, deserted, making matters 
worse for this brave handful, who only had time to build up the 
biscuit -tins and boxes two tins high, when the enemy were on 
them and the hospital attacked. 

Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead carried out all the sick it 
was possible to move, but in spite of their efforts the hospital 
was set on fire ; the three privates stationed at the doors to 
protect the helpless inside, came to the end of their ammunition 
and stood at their posts repulsing the enemy at the point of the 
bayonet. ... 


114 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

It was growing dark, and, as the burning hospital fell in, the 
gallant defenders were forced to retire to another defence of 
heaped-up meal-bags, and a desultory firing was kept up at them 
all night by the light of the burning hospital. They were 
completely surrounded, but evidently the enemy had no idea 
how few were opposed to them, and at dawn on January 23rd 
moved off, giving Lieutenant Chard time to collect the arms of 
the fallen Zulus, and fortify themselves in case of fresh attack. 

This was accomplished none too soon, for at 7 a.m. the enemy 
appeared in sight again ; but Lieutenant Chard succeeded in 
getting a message taken to Helpmakaar, a few miles away, for 
help, which arrived about eight o'clock, seeing which, the enemy 
retired, and thus ended this most gallant defence. 

The third son. Rev. E. Chard, rector of Hatch Beauchamp, 
in Somersetshire, the parson of whom I write, while his brothers 
were fighting for their country, was working saving souls and 
gathering all together for the great Roll Call, loved and respected 
by all in his parish. 

He was a familiar figure with the Taunton Vale foxhounds, 
and he acted as their secretary for fifteen years ; all the sur- 
rounding packs likewise welcomed him. He was a great 
favourite with the farmers, who were drawn to him through his 
sporting propensities in a way that might otherwise have been 
impossible, for here in the field they were on neutral ground, so 
to speak, and together they enjoyed the beautiful country, fresh 
air, and all the glorious things the good God has provided for 
our happiness if we only choose to embrace them. Out hunting 
it is possible to meet farmers and men who would otherwise 
fight rather shy of the parson. 

I have heard some sporting parsons spoken of lightly, but 
never parson Chard. I have thought much of his popularity 
was due to his wonderful memory, his sympathy, and his gentle 
voice. The latter had a charm peculiar to itself. His memory 
enabled him to say the right thing to each person he met, 
appearing interested, as indeed he was, in the lives of all around 
him ; one man would be congratulated on taking a prize with 
his cattle, another on his wonderful crop of beans ; others had 
sick relatives asked after — everyone receiving a little attention 
and no favourites made. 

His charities were many, and carried out so as to avoid the 




. — . 



1— 1 















Fiuiny p. 115.] 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 115 

recipient feeling it was " charity " — that virtue that is supposed 
to cover a multitude of sins, but often defeats its own ends by 
creating them. 

Women as a rule predominate in our English churches, but 
this order was reversed at Hatch Beauchamp ; the church was 
generally full of men, young and old, with a good sprinkling of 
women. I remarked on this once to one of his parishioners, who 
was a well-to-do farmer ; he rephed, " We love and respect him 
as a man, a sportsman, a gentleman, and a friend." 

Mr. Chard was not " out," as the schoolboys say, to save the 
saints, though no doubt he was very pleased to see them ; it 
was those who had made mistakes— the " sinners," I believe is 
the usually accepted term ; he wanted to help them. 

Mr. Chard hunted all his life, beginning at the age of six and 
continuing up to within a year or two of his death. At one 
time he hunted a good deal with the Pytchley ; latterly mostly 
in the Somerset, Devon, and Dorset countries. He was edu- 
cated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, as his father was 
before him. His first curacy was in a big parish in Birmingham, 
where he was exceedingly popular with the mothers ; at Cam- 
bridge they thought he held the babies " so nice." 

Once while performing the christening ceremony he could not 
make out whether the child's name was to be Anna or Hannah, 
so stooping down he asked the child's mother, " How do you 
spell it ? " The parent in an embarrassed and confidential 
whisper replied, " Well, I ain't no schollard neither, sir ! " She 
was evidently disappointed at his ignorance ; fancy his having 
to ask her how to spell ! She had thought better of him. 

The last time I saw Mr. Chard was at a hunt breakfast we 
gave when my son was hunting a pack of harriers in the west 
country. He had been laid up for some time, and a small 
crowd was around him congratulating him on being in the 
field again ; all were merry and laughing, " The Bishop " one 
of the merriest, but not at anyone's expense. He loved a 
joke ; amongst the hearty laughter I heard his voice at intervals 
as gentle as a woman's ; indeed, much more gentle than the 
voices of some women I know, and they were out that day. 

It was a sorry day both for " The Bishop " and his friends 
when he had to give up hunting ; for the last two years of his 
life he was a martyr to gout, which is not a complaint that 

ii6 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

generally leaves people gentle and good ; but Mr. Chard was 
remarkably patient, never the least irritable, and was nursed 
devotedly by his wife. 

Parson Chard died, if I remember rightly, sitting up in his 
armchair in his study at Hatch Beauchamp ; he knew the end 
was near and was only sad for those he was leaving behind. 

It is a strange coincidence that all three brothers died at 
about the age of fifty. 

The favourite hunter of " The Bishop " was a strong, good- 
looking, useful grey. On the day of the funeral the horse was 
very restless, and as his master was carried down the drive it 
followed along under the paddock railing, neighing and whinny- 
ing, and could hardly be prevented from getting out and following 
up the road. 

The same day his little dog, who had been fretting for his 
master, lay quietly down and died. It seemed as if nothing 
could do without him. 

I wonder if any of my readers ever feel the bitter resentment 
I feel at times when I see the world showering flowers, tears, and 
eulogies around our dear dead who have done so much for the 
happiness and well-being of those around them during their 
lifetime, receiving so few words of kindness and encouragement 
in return ; and now, when too late to raise a grateful smile, 
too late to heal the hidden sores of their hearts, kind words and 
tears are spent in extravagant profusion. I can never help 
repeating to myself — 

" Why do we grudge our sweets so to the living, 
Who, God knows, find at best too much of gall, 
And then with generous, open hand, kneel giving 
Unto the dead our all ? " 

It makes me sad, as I write, to think how many of these 
sportsmen have gone from us, never more to hear their cheery 
voices ; happily nobody can rob us of their memories, and as 
the years pass by, and we have to take to carpet-slippers and 
mob-caps, in armchairs by the fireside, we shall live with them 
again, in the gloaming before the lights are lit, when we are 
nodding with our hearts asleep and our minds somewhere 
between Here and There. 

Alas ! " The Bishop " will pass this way no more. The 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 117 

cottagers still tell me they miss him, and that they used to wait 
at their doors just to see him ride past on hunting mornings, on 
the chance of hearing his gentle voice. From what I know of 
" The Bishop," not many waited in vain. 

In God's Acre at Hatch Beauchamp, close under the shadow 
of the church, on the south side, are two marble crosses, close 
together, one raised " To the memory of the Rev. E. Chard, rector 
of the parish," etc., bearing the inscription : 

" To the memory of The Rev. Charles Edward Chard, 
Born Dec. 4th, 1856. Died Sept. 12th, 1910. 

" Father, in Thy gracious keeping, 
Now we leave Thy servant sleeping." 

The other to the memory of Col. John Merriott Chard, V.C, 
Royal Engineers ; Hero of Rorke's Drift. Born Dec. 1st, 1847. 
Died Nov. 1st, 1897. 

Inside the beautiful little church where the Rev. E. Chard 
officiated for so many years there is a handsome brass to his 
memory, placed there by his parishioners. A beautiful window 
is also there, to the memory of the Hero of Rorke's Drift, and 
beside it what is left of the wreath sent by Queen Victoria for 
his grave. 

When last I visited these graves (a very short time ago) it 
struck me as comforting and restful — the church standing as the 
Rock of Ages, amid the peaceful surroundings of a quiet country 
village, shut in by a high wall and well-clipped and tended 
laurels and shrubs, over which again, the ancient trees spread 
out big protecting arms — trees that have witnessed the cere- 
monies and anguish of many generations, but never a word or 
whisper tell, no sound is there but the gentle sighing of the 
leaves ; and as I left I turned for one last look. The sun was 
pouring over the brothers' graves, and flooding the window 
with light to the Hero's memory. 

The rectory where " The Bishop " lived overlooks the 
churchyard, and it was here the Hero came to end his days 
under the care of his brother, who nursed him tenderly through 
a long and terrible illness, to the end. It must have been a 
comfort to Colonel Chard to be able to spend his last days under 
the shadow of his brother's goodness. 

The tragedy of it all ! I used often, as I passed the pathetic 

ii8 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

figure in the lanes, being wheeled in his invalid's chair, feel sick 
at our impotency : so powerless to help this brave man in his 
awful suffering, who had done and dared so much for others, 
but was now too ill even to speak. 

But I must return to " The Bishop." I have observed that 
only people who are popular get these sort of names attached 
to them ; this round-faced, apple-cheeked little man was one 
of several I have known rejoicing in the epithet. 

It would be difficult to imagine two characters more unlike 
than those of Parson Chard of Hatch Beauchamp and the 
Rev. John Froude, M.F.H., vicar of Knowstone in Devonshire, 
but the latter was of a generation before Mr. Chard, and was a 
most determined, headstrong man who seemed to take pleasure 
in annoying his Bishop and those in authority ; while Mr. Chard 
would have gone considerably out of his way to avoid doing 
anything of the kind. 

I am unable to give a very correct and detailed account of 
Mr. Froude's life. He was long before my time, and the only 
relation I can find of his, does not seem to be greatly enamoured 
with recollections of him, for in reply to my letter asking if he 
were any relation, etc., I was informed he was a distant relation, 
and reading between the lines I gathered he knew little about 
him and cared less. 

I have asked many Devonshire people about this sporting 
parson and been told various strange stories, and I fear he was 
rather an unruly member of the clerical fraternity, but a fine 
sportsman with a grand voice, his view-halloo being a thing to 
remember. Hounds flew to him when they heard it. All I can 
gather, points to his having been an independent gentleman, 
rather given to what the schoolboys call " cheek," no respecter 
of persons and brooking no interference from anybody. He was 
a near neighbour of Jack Russell, and I do not think he had a 
very good influence over him. As he did not possess the tact, 
courteous manners, and personality of Jack Russell, his sporting 
proclivities caused more comment, and not always of a kindly 
order. At an}^ rate rumours reached the ears of the Bishop of 
Exeter that the vicar of Knowstone neglected his parish ; in 
fact, grave charges were brought against him, in consequence 
of which the Bishop of Exeter wrote a somewhat bombastic 
note requesting Mr. Froude to appear before him and explain 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 119 

some of the stories that he had heard. The reply received 
was to the effect that he saw no reason why he should do any- 
thing of the kind, and, as far as I could gather, he gave the 
Bishop to understand he had no intention of appearing. As 
the molehill would not go to the mountain the mountain 
decided to go to the molehill. His lordship was distinctly 
ruffled, and, regardless of the expense, hired what in those days 
was, I believe, called a " post-chaise," and in this was ambled 
over to Knowstone vicarage. 

A little bird must, I think, have arrived in advance of the 
prelate, for when he was shown into what I believe was termed 
the " parlour," he was kept waiting for some time. This did 
not improve the Bishop's state of mind, and I feel sure he 
must have been rehearsing to himself some of those very telling 
reprimands, which at the time seem so conclusive and from 
which we depart entirely, saying something quite different when 
the actual moment arrives. His patience and dignity were 
strained to breaking-point when, while striding up and 
down the room, the door suddenly opened and a female re- 
quested him to " walk this way, please." Complying with this 
request, he found himself in the presence of Mr. Froude, rolled 
up in blankets, with a shawl over his head, sitting close into the 
hre, apparently hardly able to speak in consequence of a violent 
cold in his head and chest. Under ordinary circumstances no 
doubt the Bishop would have made polite enquiries into the 
state of the vicar's health, but nothing was further from his 
mind on this occasion, and he at once opened the conversation 
by plunging into the reason of his visit, saying pompously : 

" Good-day, Mr. Froude. I have come to ask if certain stories 
are true that — —'" 

Mr. Froude. — " Oh yes, yes, my lord, I quite agree with 
you, very cold, yes, very cold travelling ; do 'ee sit down now and 
have some nice hot brandy and water. There is nothing like it 
for keeping off the shivers ! " 

Bishop {indignantly). — " No, thank you, I never partake of 
anything between meals ! " 

Mr. Froude's cold was evidently so bad it had made him 
deaf, for he rang the bell, and when it was answered by his 
housekeeper Mary, requested her to bring hot brandy and water 
for the Bishop, adding, " And, Mary, he likes it strong ! " 

120 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Bishop (now most uncomfortable). — " No ! No ! Mr. Froude, 
I have not come to drink hot brandy and water, but to ask you 
about certain charges." 

But here again he was interrupted. 

Mr. Froude. — " Yes, my lord, it is my only doctor, and 
if I had been wise and taken it at first I should not have been 
sitting here now like any old woman, as deaf as an adder " 

This was the last straw. The Bishop made a solemn bow 
and dignified exit to his carriage, and gave orders for home. 

If history is to be believed, as soon as his lordship had 
disappeared Mr. Froude's cold suddenly disappeared, and just 
to shake off the last remnants of it, he jumped into the saddle 
and was away. 

It sounds more like a mischievous schoolboy's trick than the 
conduct of a clergj^man. I wonder how he reconciled it to his 
conscience, and what his housekeeper thought, who was used as 
a tool ! 

As the stories of Mr. Froude's doings did not grow less, the 
Bishop thought he would try again, meaning to talk to the 
vicar like a father. 

On arriving at the vicarage he was again shown into the 
same sitting-room, and Mary explained that her master was 
much too ill to see anyone. 

The Bishop was so impressed by the solemn face of the 
faithful Mary that he feared the illness must be serious, but still 
pressed his point, saying, " But I feel sure Mr. Froude would 
like to see me. Tell him the Bishop is here ! " 

Mary. — " Indeed, sir, I fear he is much too ill to see any- 
body ; indeed, sir, I don't know perhaps as how I ought to tell 
you " 

Bishop (interrupting nervously). — " It is nothing infectious, 
I trust ? " 

Mary {in a relieved, almost cheerful voice). — " That's it, sir — 
a terrible infection, indeed ; they call it a fever ! " 

Bishop {imih suppressed agitation). — "What kind of fever, 
my good woman — not scarlet fever ? " 

Mary. — " Oh no, my lord, much worse ; they do tell me as 
how it be typhus fever." 

This was too much. The poor Bishop began to feel symp- 
toms of internal trouble, and made hastily for the door. He 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 121 

would gladly have jumped out of the window if it had been 
low enough, but he was out of the house in a surprisingly short 
time, murmuring something about coming another time, which, 
however, he never did. Perhaps he was wise. 

I have been told that once more Mr. Froude quickly recovered 
and was galloping away from home directly his ecclesiastical 
superior had left the premises. 

I cannot vouch for the truth of these stories of Mr. Froude's 
endeavours to avoid coming into collision with his Bishop, but 
they are very generally known in Devonshire. Amongst the 
first things you are told on going to stay with friends in that 
county are stories of Jack Russell and Mr. Froude, and they are 
repeated every time you return to the land of beautiful cream. 
It is obligatory that you should be surprised and interested, as 
if you had never heard them before. 

There is one story of parson Froude that always amuses me, 
and people have sworn to me it is true. 

Mr. Froude, who was always surrounded with dogs, was out 
walking one day with a favourite whippet, when the Bishop hove 
in sight and enquired in a strained but studiously polite voice 
and manner, " And may I enquire, Mr. Froude, what kind of 
dog you call that ? " 

In broad Devonshire accents came the reply, " Oh, that is 
what we call a lang dog, and if your lordship war just on'y to 
shak' yere appern at un he'd go like a dart ! " 

This story will not be amusing to those who are unaware of 
the rules appertaining to whippet-racing, the signal for these 
dogs to start their race being given by the shaking of a hand- 

The picture of the dignified Bishop shaking his apron 
strikes me as funny. 

At the time of which I am writing there were numbers of 
hunting parsons in the west country. I do not know why Mr. 
Froude was especially marked for correction by Bishop Phillpotts 
who was then Bishop of Exeter. Perhaps he did not know that 
under his very nose there were clergymen who hunted foxhounds, 
harriers, and otter-hounds. 

Once the Bishop, smelling rats (if ever these dignitaries do 
such things), sent for a churchwarden to ask him if it were true 
his vicar hunted and neglected his work. 

122 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

The faithful old Devonshire farmer was not going to give 
his vicar away, and replied. " Don't you believe a word on't. 
I've heard strange things about your lordship, but don't believe 
a word on't." 

This same Bishop appears at times to have been equal to 
the occasion. Once a clergyman went to tackle him about 
the hunting question and asked, " Is it true your lordship 
objects to my hunting ? " 

" Not at all," said his lordship, " not at all ! Who could 
have said such a tiling ? What I object to is your ever doing 
anything else ! " 

One would require time to find a suitable smart reply to that. 
It is so difficult to find piquant replies on the spur of the moment, 
though during the night they race through one's brain. 

Mr. Froude hunted his pack of foxhounds for many years, 
and the farmers around him approved and played into his hands. 

Sporting parsons, like old maids, are always having funny 
stories told about them. I do not know why, but as there are 
no old maids now and not many sporting parsons left, and what 
there are do not care what is said about them but rather enjoy 
the joke, I need not worry myself. 

The following parson story was told to me a short time ago 
and struck me as amusing, but I fear it was the outcome of some 
imaginative brain. 

A sporting parson who had arrived at the end of his ideas 
for sermons asked a couple more of his fraternity, likewise 
sporting, to come and help him. They promised to do so, one 
to preach in the morning and one in the evening, but were rather 
dismayed on hearing their host wished the subjects to be 
connected in some way with the chase. The fox-hunting 
parson, after racking his brain for some time, decided on his 
text, " We heard of him at Ephrata and found him in the wood." 
The poor harrier parson, who was to preach in the evening, 
found it still more difficult to find a text he considered suitable, 
but at last he decided, and when the time arrived to deliver his 
eulogy this was what he had chosen, " Here is the heir (hare) ; 
let us kill him." 

There is still another great " has been " in the Devonshire 
sporting-parson group, like Jack Russell and Billy Butler, 
household words. I have often heard it said, " Parson Michell 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 123 

he preached, as well as galloped, hard." And I am told he 
attracted large congregations ; people came from great dis- 
tances to see and hear the bold, fearless rider in the pulpit when 
he pleaded with eloquence his Master's cause. 

He was rector of Cotleigh, near Honiton ; it was the home 
of the Michells, for not only had his father but his grandfather 
and great-grandfather reigned there before him. 

Mr. Jack Michell hunted what was known as the Cotleigh 
and East Devon harriers, though, like many of the Devonshire 
and west country packs, they were really dwarf foxhounds, 
hunting fox and hare, occasionally hunting both the same day 
v/ith equal dash and drive. They were an extraordinarily useful 
little pack, hunting badgers, fox, and hare equally successfully. 
Once after a clinking run they killed a dog-fox as late as June the 
10th, in the grounds of Netherton Hall, at that time occupied 
by Sir Edmund Prideaux. 

Another most remarkable run when Mr. Jack Michell owned 
and hunted them : they found at Silcombe, which is near 
Honiton, and killed their fox in the dark in a neighbouring 
county, three miles north of Taunton — a good twenty-mile 

The curious part of this epoch-making run was that the 
Master had no idea they had killed until next day, when a 
farmer who had witnessed the kill enclosed the ear of the fox, 
the only part left when the obedient, well-trained hounds 
responded to the horn, calling them off after darkness had set 
in. The farmer, not knowing whose hounds they were, seeing 
no followers, thought they belonged to Mr. Eames of another 
Cotley, near Chard, and sent the ear to him, who of course 
forwarded it to its rightful quarters. 

One of the peculiarities of the Michell family was that 
neither the Rev. Jack nor his father, the Rev. William, used to 
get off their horses from start to finish on a hunting day ; I 
understand they made this a rule, and had I not been told 
it by a near relative of their reverences, I should not have 
believed it. 

The old school of bipeds was certainly more hardy and 
enduring than most of the present generation ; the same may 
be said of horses and hounds. Most horses in these days, if 
asked to carry a heavy man from early morning to dewy eve 

124 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

without his getting out of the saddle, if they did not play out 
altogether, might be looked upon as certain to give some heavy 

I think most would require second horses and possibly some 
vaseline at the end of " the day." It certainly sounds rather 
hard on one horse to ride it all day, especially if many twenty- 
mile points were made. It is not in accordance with our 
present-day notion, when we jump off on every possible occasion 
to ease and rest our gees, if only for a few minutes. 

For some years Mr. Jack Michell also kept a pack of badger- 
hounds entirely at his own expense, showing record sport, 
accounts of which appeared in the Field and other papers, 
attracting followers from all parts of the country. 

During the early summer nights he used to take hounds to 
Court Wood, not far from the kennels, and hunt badger, not 
often having a blank night, the old keeper Jim Agland having 
previously stopped the " earths " when Messrs. Brock started 
forth on nocturnal prowls. 

I confess my sympathies are rather with the cleanly, interest- 
ing little badger, but hunting at night is always exciting and full 
of surprises, stumbling along by the light of a hand lantern, 
falling headlong over barbed wire unseen in the semi-darkness, 
and stepping into brooks. 

I wish it were possible to collect more of the doings of some 
of those bygone days of fine old sportsmen, I have tried 
hard, but only a few stories of them are left, sketchy little bits 
here and there, oft repeated. 

I understand this old huntsman was a delightful companion 
and raconteur, with that great gift, a sense of humour, which 
helps us over many awkward stiles. 

One story he was fond of telling showed the way his father 
dealt with those who strayed from the path of rectitude, not 
being a believer in preaching except from the pulpit. 

An old woman came almost daily at one time to the rectory 
to receive some of the many benefits the rector showered on all 
who needed help, for he never could bring himself to send 
anybody " empty away " ; but it had been observed for some 
time that after the old lady's visit other things had disappeared 
as well as the " benefits " placed ready for her. Amongst the 
things most often missing were pounds of butter. At last this 

The Revs. Chard, Froude and Michell 125 

was reported to Mr. Michell, who, seeing her walk past the door 
one day where he was busy cooking hound-food over a roaring 
fire, asked her to stop and come in to have a chat with him. 
At first she seemed reluctant, but was at last persuaded and a 
chair was drawn up for her close to the beautiful warm fire. 
The rector chatted away to her, keeping her quite happy and 
occupied in thought until there appeared on the floor by her 
feet a fair-sized puddle of melted butter. Her attention was 
attracted to this curious phenomenon. 

Besides being a keen huntsman, parson Jack Michell was a 
successful fisherman, holding very decided opinions as to the 
proper flies to use and what he considered the necessary and 
correct panoply for the sport. Any man who sallied forth with 
a big book of flies was scorned ; if, added to the big book of 
flies, there were landing-nets and suchlike items, then indeed he 
was considered no sportsman. 

I must say I think he deprived himself of a good deal of 
pleasure. I can spend a happy afternoon doing nothing but 
examining and admiring my book of lovely flies, some bought 
and some I have tied for myself. Our parson, however, was 
never so frivolous : two flies were all he allowed himself, the 
" Wrentail " and " Blue Upright," but he did considerable 
execution with them. 

There were few of the pleasures of life this old sportsman did 
not enjoy ; besides hunting and fishing, he loved his gun and 
was considered a very good shot and could be relied upon to 
replenish the larder when desired so to do. 

He shot with a " Joe Manton " (muzzle-loader), always 
carrying it at half-cock, being a wise and cautious man, and he 
never fully cocked either barrel until the birds were on the wing, 
but seldom failed to bring down his right and left. Stories have 
been told of a wonderful setter he had ; as soon as she winded 
her game she dropped, and would stand indefinitely until her 
master came up. 

A neighbour of this versatile sportsman tells me he has 
often shot with Jack Michell and seen him kill his right and left 
at woodcock in the woods surrounding his home, and describes 
him as a " splendid shot " — which reminds me I should have got 
a splendid right and left once in Wales at woodcock if I had not 
missed them ! 

126 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

When pheasant-shooting Mr. Michell used to say, " When a 
bird rises take out your snuff-box, have a pinch of snuff, then 
shoot the bird." 

In 1860, feeUng no longer very young, he gave up his Hving 
and hounds at the same time. I have been told that anyone 
entering the village, or indeed the neighbourhood, when his 
decision had been made known might have thought some 
national calamity had befallen the county ; everybody was 
walking about with long faces condoling with one another. He 
only lived nine years after this, and the county felt they had 
lost a cheery neighbour and a good friend when he passed away 
on September 18th, 1869. 

In this ever-flowing stream which keeps renewing the world, 
which is the most precious of all the hurrying things that we can 
hold and keep ? Surely it is the memory of a good and kindly 

I often think the lives of some of our clergy are like beautiful 
songs ill sung, but Parson Michell's was a splendid song well 

Chapter XI 

The Rev. Pierce Armar Butler — Purbeck Pilgrim — His Ancestors — Worthy Sons 
— Three Years as Army Chaplain — Good-bye to the Seventeenth Division — 
— Feeling Miserable — A Coal-heaver's Farewell — A Popular Sermon — Some 
Happy Days — "Not Taking Any" — A Sporting House-Master — An Un- 
common Experience — A Triumphant Run — A Missing Spur — A Bobbery 
Pack — Purbeck Pilgrim Jumped on — " Artexerxes " has Antipathies — A 
Small Girl on a Clever Pony — A Holiday in Ireland — Great Preparations — A 
Disappointment — Billy Butler no Relation — Rector of Frampton — A Friend 
of George IV. — The King makes a Present — Mr. Butler makes a Mistake. 

PURBECK PILGRIM, who for years wrote the South 
Dorset Hunting Reports for the Field, is at home in 
East Stoke rectory, Dorset, where he is known as the 
Rev. Pierce Armar Butler. He was born in 1863, and is son of 
the big-game shooter and explorer, the Rev. Pierce Butler, a 
notable pioneer in the Palestine Survey. 

Mr. Butler, who is a big, finely-made man and very genial, 
is the great-grandson of the Earl of Carrick, and comes from a 
family of sportsmen and soldiers whose names have shone in the 
annals of our country. One of his ancestors was James Butler, 
a Major in the Coldstream Guards who distinguished himself at 
Silishia. Another, Henry Butler, was A.D.C. to the Duke of 
Cambridge : both these Butlers were killed in the Crimea. 

History repeats itself, and alas ! two of Purbeck Pilgrim's 
sons have given their lives in this war. One, Ralph, a promising 
lad in the Navy, was pursued by fate, being torpedoed in the 
Mediterranean while on the Dublin, after which he joined the 
Hampshire and went down with Lord Kitchener and his Staff. 
The other son, Armar, in the South Lancashire Regiment, served 
two years at Salonica, where he was badly wounded. Later he 
transferred to the Flying Corps, and died in action. Another 
son, Rollo Pierce, drove a Red Cross Ambulance in Italy and 
had a very rough time during the big retreat. Yet another 
son, Hubert, in the Third Dorsets, was badly knocked about at 
Arras and brought home nearly dead. 

The sporting father of those lads was himself invalided out 

128 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

of the army after three and a half years' work as chaplain. 
Soon after war broke out he was attached to the Seventeenth 
Division, but was left in England when they went abroad, being 
medically unfit. The latter part of the three years was spent 
with the Dorsets at Weymouth, where he was known as " the 
Chaplain on the grey horse." 

When the division was leaving England he rode with the 
men for a long way on their march to Winchester. At last the 
moment came when he must leave them and turn back, 
though he felt the parting horribly. Bracing himself up, he 
said good-bye to General Pilcher and his great friend Brigadier- 
General Surtees ; then he stood beside the road watching the 
division pass and feeling, to use his own expression, as if he 
" must break down and howl." His favourite battalions rolled 
past with their lads from Northumberland, Lancashire, and 
Yorkshire shouting, " Good-bye, Passon," and " Best of luck. 
Padre." Just as he felt he could not stand it any longer, his' 
old soldier-servant — a Lancashire coal-heaver — came past, and 
looking up most woefully said, " Good-bye, Chaplain, it's 

b y hard luck you can't come," and a yell of laughter that 

went up saved the situation. 

" I could never call a man over the coals for swearing like 
that, for it was just the most sincere affection in farewell," was 
Mr. Butler's judgment of this lapse. A year later the man 
came back to the Padre badly wounded, but amazingly cheerful. 
When Mr. Butler tried to express his sympathy the man's only 
comment was, " Well, it might have been worse." Looking at 
the wreck before him, Mr. Butler wondered, and asked, " How 
much worse ? " " Why, I might have been dead," was the 
surprised reply. 

Mr. Butler believes that one of the most popular sermons he 
delivered to troops was preached one bitterly cold day when 
the men were shivering at an open-air service. " I think the 
best sermon I can preach to you to-day," he said, " is no sermon 
at all." 

He has a high opinion of the judgment of soldiers, con- 
sidering them to be fine judges of real religion, but allows they 
do not like the butter laid on too thick, and they read their 
chaplain's character very quickly. 

Mr. Butler regards the time spent with the troops as the 

The Revs. P. A. Butler and ** Billy Butler " 129 

happiest days of his clerical career. The army was originally 
intended to be his profession ; in fact, he served some years 
with the 3rd West Kents and only gave it up after volunteering 
for the Egyptian campaign and being refused. 

In 1915, while sitting at mess in Woolwich camp, Mr. Butler 
noticed a Major gazing fixedly at him, who at last said, " Aren't 
you Butler ? I mean P. A. Butler." The impeachment being 
admitted, he continued, " Why, the last time I saw you was at 
Maidstone in 1880, when you were having an altercation with 
your Colonel at the ranges, because he wanted you to ride 
across the hollow in front of the targets with the bullets whizzing 
about ! — his argument being, that until our time for death comes, 
the Almighty will take care of us ; but you were not taking 

The Major must have had a good memory. Perhaps, like 
so many, he could remember the happenings of long ago better 
than those of later years. 

Mr. Butler was educated at Marlborough, and here his first 
real hunting began. Happily his house-master was very keen 
on the same sport, and the fellow-feeling making him wondrous 
kind, these two used to snatch hasty luncheons on half-holidays, 
then mount hirelings, and away together to look for the Ted- 
worth or Craven. They enjoyed some good scurries, to be 
lived over again many times in their memories — some glorious 
times over the Downs with the Tedworth. Many of us owe 
debts of gratitude to the hireling ; he is a long-suffering friend 
and has done us numberless good turns. 

It was on one of these patient friends that Mr. Butler took 
part in rather a remarkable run of thirty-five minutes over the 
Downs, being then only a boy and a lightweight. Mounted on 
some good blood he was able to keep in touch with the hounds 
the whole thirty-five minutes. Being well up he enjoyed the 
uncommon experience of seeing one of the leading hounds run 
for quite a quarter of a mile singly beside the fox while they 
were snapping at one another, the hound evidently not daring 
to run into the fox until the rest of the pack came up. It is no 
uncommon thing, and a curious trait in hound character, that 
single-handed they do not care to tackle their quarry, nearly 
always waiting in awkward moments, for the rest of the pack to 
come up and keep them in countenance. I have knoAvn a 


130 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

basset hound that would not tackle a hare alone, but kept 
dodging about and jumping up and down until the rest came 
up, when he at once became most valiant. I believe if the hare 
had come for him he would have run for his life. 

Another eventful day from Marlborough was in a run with 
the Craven when Sir Richard Sutton was the Master, right 
through the Tedworth country to ground in the Duke of Beau- 
fort's. Only two or three were up at the finish, but young Butler 
was amongst them, with three shoes off his nag, wet and cold, 
having wallowed through two or three brooks, weary, capless, 
and one spur gone. But it was a wet and triumphant day, one 
of those thrilling experiences when you may be suffering from 
many bloody wounds, big scratches from thorns and brambles, 
yet absolutely unconscious of it at the time owing to the passion 
of pursuit. 

It was thus with young Butler. Not until the fox was run 
to ground and the day far spent did he realise that his mount 
had lost three shoes, that both he and his horse were sopping 
wet ; and very grateful he was to Sir Richard Sutton when he 
kindly offered to lend his knitted gloves to this plucky boy to 
warm his cold fingers. The Master had watched and appreciated 
the lad's fine performance throughout the day. Years after- 
wards Mr. Butler saw his missing spur hanging up over his late 
master's study mantelpiece (then headmaster of a well-known 
public school), a memento of a schoolboy's eventful day. 

So much for boyhood. The next matter of moment was 
when he joined the West Kent Militia. At this time he hunted 
with various packs, sometimes in Dorsetshire with Mr. Rad- 
clyffe's hounds, but more often with the Cambridgeshire, 
occasional odd days with the FitzWilliam hounds, and on foot 
with the Trinity beagles. 

Whilst reading for Orders he used to hunt with the Goodwood 
and also with harriers from Bognor. It used to be said of him 
in those days that although seen on all parts of his horse he 
always managed to get back into the saddle again ; but he says 
this is not strictly true, as at times he did taste Mother Earth ; 
and small wonder, for if hounds failed to supply them with the 
means of working off some youthful steam and energy, a few 
ardent spirits used to take on a bit of country and try to pound 
one another. 

The Revs. P. A. Butler and *' Billy Butler " 131 

Later, in his curate days, he hunted mostly v^dth the Warn- 
ham staghounds, Surrey Union, Crawly and Horsham, Lord 
Leconfield's and the Chiddingfold. It was during this period 
that he owned the best hunter of his life, a lean, one-eyed 
chestnut named " Cyclop," a very clever three-quarter bred 
mare, a marvel over timber — ^and what a joy a real good timber- 
jumper is ! the delightful flick of the quarters that just does the 
trick. The way an accomplished hunter who loves jumping 
settles down and arranges his own paces when he sees timber 
ahead of him is beautiful to behold, and still more beautiful to 

Once Mr. Butler hunted a pack of his own. It consisted of a 
bob-tailed harrier, two beagles, a Gordon setter, a poodle, and 
various terriers. Generally they ran a " drag," but one epoch- 
making day the only resident hare of the neighbourhood was 
encountered in Bembridge Marsh and hunted for half an hour 
with this motley but happy and sporting pack to the accompani- 
ment of the most soul-stirring music, all running with wonderful 
dash and drive. Whether the poodle or the bob-tailed harrier 
led the van I know not, but suddenly they checked, no amount 
of casting recovered the line. Any ordinary pack might have 
lost the hare ; not so his reverence's, for the trusty setter came 
to the rescue, standing firm and staunch at a hedge. Quickly 
the huntsman got his pack to the other side of the hedge and 
lured the setter on. Result — a kill, and to-day the vicarage 
study wall is ornamented with puss's profile. 

Most of us who go out hunting meaning real business meet 
with nasty falls now and then, but happily we do not often get 
jumped on, which was the unpleasant experience of Mr. Butler, 
whose face was " somewhat bashed out of shape," as he ex- 
presses it, and left him looking " almost as if a professional 
pugilist had been walking all over it." 

Unfortunately the very next day there was a village wedding, 
and the couple with their friends were hoping to see their vicar 
handsome and imposing as usual. Not wishing to disappoint 
his parishioners by having a deputy, Mr. Butler struggled to the 
church. Whether he succeeded in seeing out of one of his 
" jumped on " eyes or whether he knew the service by heart I 
cannot say ; perhaps it was between the tv,'o, and combined 
with pluck and grit, he got satisfactorily through the service. 

132 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

In the East Stoke rectory stables are to be found some useful 
weight-carriers, for the nine-stone Marlborough boy has grown 
into a sixteen-stone man. " Artexerxes " was the name of a 
favourite heavy-weight hunter that did him well for several 
seasons, carrying him well to the front in two or three big 
heath runs. He bought the horse, which was sold to him by a 
man who said it was a vile brute in stable and at the forge ; 
indeed, so awkward was he that the village smithies trembled 
when they saw him coming to be shod, and he often had to be 
cast before it was satisfactorily accomplished. In spite of his 
queer temper, however, he was pleasant to ride, and as clever 

Poor old " Artexerxes " was sold once when the " Purbeck 
Pilgrim " was very ill and the doctors said he would hunt no 
more ; but I am glad to say their prophecy was not fulfilled, for 
he is going as strong as ever again and riding young ones 
requiring " hands " and " seat." 

One of the most interesting hunts of his life was in Dorset- 
shire, when after a fast run across the heath he espied a. black 
speck crossing the nastiest bog in the neighbourhood and 
wondered what it could be — discovering at last it was his very 
precious and only daughter on her Shetland pony. She had 
broken away from her governess on hearing hounds, and made 
her way across the dangerous morass — thanks to her clever pony 
— in safety. 

The Master blooded her, and so great was her pride she 
would not allow it to be washed off that night. The poor 
distracted governess who had lost her charge made her way 
home to break the news, and was overjoyed to find the little 
lady had been safely escorted home by her father. 

Hunting is by no means the only recreation Mr. Butler 
indulges in. He enjoys all the good things that come his way. 
He is a good ^hot and sought after when " the bag " is the chief 
consideration, but perhaps excels as a dry-fly fisherman, 
that most fascinating of pastimes, and he is exceedingly keen. 
In the Frome close to his rectory he has landed many good 
salmon up to thirty-five pounds. 

Once he decided he would spend a happy holiday in Ireland 
fishing. He made great preparations so as to have plenty of 
baskets to send his fish home in, and to his friends, who naturally 

The Revs. P. A. Butler and *' Billy Butler " 133 

were looking forward to the moment when the baskets would 
begin to arrive. Some kill-joy dared to suggest he had better 
catch the fish first and see about baskets afterwards. Of course 
no notice was taken of these croakers, and away went Purbeck 
Pilgrim and his friend to Ireland, and no doubt thoroughly 
enjoyed the holiday, as everyone does in Ireland ; but un- 
fortunately the fish-baskets remained empty, for not a single 
one was caught, and only one was seen on the rod of an en- 
thusiastic angler who had bought it for twenty-five shillings just 
to see what it felt like to have a salmon on his rod ! As a 
matter of fact, it felt like nothing at all, at all, as it had views 
of its own and got off again in exactly half a second. Twenty- 
five shillings for half a second's run was an expensive burst. 

Mr. Butler has written a good deal on sport ; all the sporting 
matter in the " Victorian Counties History of Dorset " is from 
his pen, and many articles in papers and magazines. He writes 
as he speaks, cheerily and amusingly, and has a good sense of 
humour. He always signs himself " Purbeck Pilgrim." 

I fear from my account of his sport I may have misled my 
readers into thinking Mr. Butler's parish is neglected, but this 
is not so really ; he is one of the hardest-working parish priests, 
and never allows sport to come first : duty comes first and sport 
second. His parishioners always try to enable him to get away 
to fish, shoot, or hunt ; they take pride in his prowess — at least, 
that is how it seems to me ; perhaps they like a little reflected 
glory for their village. 

This interesting character is a High Churchman, and he is 
a socialistic old Tory who loves his people, and they love him. 
His chief pride is his wee daughter on her Shetland pony, 
entered to hounds a few years ago. 

The sayings of school-children are often amusing. In one 
of this cleric's village schools the ten-year-old son of a village 
carter was asked, " Why did Joseph tell his brethren not to fall 
out by the way ? " He replied, " 'Cause there wern't no 
tail-board t' the cart." 

I think Mr. Butler is what Bishop Temple would have 
described as one of the " Nimrod, Ramrod, Fishing-rod Parsons." 

There is yet another parson Butler well known in the west 
country, but he is no relation to " Purbeck Pilgrim," and 
belonged to quite another generation. His name was the Rev. 

134 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

William Butler. If you were to ask anybody in his county of 
Dorset or any of the surrounding counties if they had ever 
heard of the Rev. William Butler they would shake their heads 
and say, " No, never " ; but say, " Do you remember Billy 
Butler ? " and their reply will be quite different, for his name is 
a household word. He was always called " Billy " with the 
familiarity of affection by his fellow-sportsmen, and as such is 
remembered to-day by those of his contemporaries who are still 
living, while others know of him so well they almost feel as if 
they also had been personal friends. 

With perhaps the exception of Jack Russell, I know of no 
other hunting parson so well known or so frequently quoted. 
His memory has endured well, for he died in 1843, at the age of 
eighty-one, and hunted up to the end of his days — a round- 
about, jolly old man. 

The Rev. Billy was rector of Frampton in Dorset, and was a 
great friend of George IV. when Prince of Wales, who hunted a 
pack of hounds from Crichel in 1800, kennelling them at Puddles- 

Many are the stories told relating to the friendship between 
His Royal Highness and Mr. Butler. It was in the hunting-field 
they first met, and I believe what drew them together in the 
first instance was Mr. Butler's assistance on a blank day. 

There had been a long and fruitless draw, and all were 
dispirited, when somebody pointed out Mr. Butler as a man 
who knew the haunt of every fox in the neighbourhood, and he 
was asked where he thought one would be found. He at once 
advised a neighbouring gorse to be drawn. 

Hounds went through it, but owned to no fox. People 
began to think their infallible Billy was at fault for once, but 
they were mistaken. Going up to the huntsman, he asked 
which was the most reliable hound in the pack. " Trojan " was 
pointed out. Mr. Butler at once began friendly overtures to 
this hound, and at last picked him up in his arms and struggled 
with him through the middle of the gorse, and after a little 
persuasion got him to put his nose down. 

A whimper, and then a deep note soon told the field the 
parson was right after all. The whole pack was away full cry 
on the line of a fine fox, which had lain close in the thickest part 
of the gorse. 



< E 

rH Ph 



Facing p. 135.] 

The Revs. P. A. Butler and " Billy Butler '* 135 

It sounds as if the parson's nose was the one to be rehed upon ! 

Mr. Butler was always a welcome guest at Crichel during 
the Prince's stay there, and during one of his visits His Royal 
Highness told Mr. Butler he might go into the stable and choose 
any horse he liked. It did not take his reverence long to pick 
out a good-looking chestnut and ride off on it, evidently being 
of the opinion that a horse in hand is worth two in a stable, if 
I may be allowed to so pervert the old proverb. 

A few days later a groom arrived at the rectory with a note, 
saying, unfortunately Mr. Butler had taken away a horse 
belonging to somebody else and not the Prince's, but a cheque 
for £150 was enclosed to help to break the blow. 

The Prince being exceedingly kind and generous, a little 
later gave Mr. Butler another choice out of his stables, this time 
not to be taken away again. 

Mr. Butler was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. His 
first living was Sturminster Newton, where he was much liked 
and respected, winning golden opinions also as a preacher, which 
has not been one of the leading features of the majority of 
parsons. Here, again, he resembles Mr. Russell, who was an 
eloquent preacher, with a good voice, and that touch of human 
sympathy which conveys itself so quickly to other people. 

By the way, talking of preachers, one of the worst I ever 
heard— which is saying a good deal — used to be so moved at his 
own oratorical powers that he shed tears of emotion, which so 
affected his speech we had to take a good deal for granted as 
to how it all ended, and fill in the gaps for ourselves. 

The Rev. Billy had one of those faithful trusty servants not 
often to be met with in these days. I have forgotten the man's 
name, but wherever his master went there was the faithful 
attendant ; if his reverence went to church, so did his fac- 
totum ; if Mr. Billy went a-hunting, so did the servant ; if he 
went out to dinner, so did his shadow. 

We may be forgiven for thinking at times this must have 
been inconvenient, but there were occasions when it was an 
advantage, especially when Mr. Butler had promised to take 
services and keep appointments which in his later years slipped 
his memory. 

On one occasion, when master and servant were well on their 
way to a meet, meaning to hunt, suddenly the " shadow " 

136 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

remembered his master had promised to take a special service 
that morning, which had quite shpped their memories. He at 
once reminded Mr. Butler, and they both turned their horses' 
heads and galloped back, reaching the church in time to tie up 
their horses at a proper distance from the place of worship. 

The service was held, with the faithful servant forming one 
of the congregation, both hoping the surplice would hide the 
hunting garments. Having decorously performed his duties, 
Mr. Butler and the faithful one remounted and hurried off in 
the direction they hoped might bring them in touch with the 

The great age so many of these sportsmen attain proves the 
healthfulness of the out-of-doors life and happy surroundings of 
Mother Earth and Dame Nature ; and it is pleasant to think 
that though we hear many funny stories of them — ^and some of 
their doings were not altogether in accord with our present 
notions of propriety — we never hear of their having been 
unpopular in their parishes as we often do now ; neither does 
any man remember meeting with anything but charity in word 
or deed from them. 

Billy Butler was rector of Frampton for forty years. A 
brother cleric who was not entirely of Mr. Billy's way of thinking 
was constrained to allow, " Mr. Butler's career as a divine was 
not without some redeeming features, and he was much respected 
for the exemplary discharge of his parochial duties, and enjoyed 
some popularity as a preacher." There is a slight account of 
this Mr. Billy Butler in the " History of Dorset." 

At one time when a valuable living became vacant it was 
offered to Mr. Butler, but he declined it, saying he would be 
happier ending his days in the little vicarage at Frampton. 

The picture of Mr. Butler is not what one might consider 
artistic, but it speaks to us of the date when it was originally 

Chapter XII 

The Rev. E. A. Aldridge — Takes Medical Degree — Becomes a Chinese Mandarin 
— In the Pytchley Country — Poaching — Beware of the Butler — Please " Shut 
up " — Known as a " Plodder " — With Sir Robert Hart — Obligations of the 
Mandarin — Five Years on Hainan — A Thousand Miles up the Yangtze River 
— The Foreign Devil — A Narrow Escape — House Burnt to the Ground — 
Reverence for the Missionary — A Simla General's Views on Missionaries — 
Working in Leeds Slums — Good-bye to Sport — Running Saves Him — A 
Species of Freedom Again — Shadows of the Oxford Movement — Dress Eti- 
quette at Cambridge University — Tommy Atkins of Yesterday, and To-day — 
A Few Axioms — A Wooden Leg — The Rising Generation — Some Sporting 
Generals — A Callow Jest — The Jester Dwindles — First Volunteer in Hanning- 
ton — At Loos — Wounded — With the Scottish Division. 

THE REV. E. A. ALDRIDGE has undoubtedly had an 
exciting career. 
Having taken good medical degrees before becoming 
a parson, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914, and 
has served as a doctor with the forces in France, being still there 
at the time this is being written. Medicine is only one of his 
accomplishments ; among other things he is a Mandarin of 
China, member of the Alpine Club, Fellow of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, and an all-round sportsman. As for adven- 
tures, he has had his fair share, and it is a profound mystery why 
he was not killed by any of the various mobs of Chinamen which 
pursued him from time to time for the express purpose of taking 
his life. 

He was brought up in the country and tutored, with a score 
of other boys of his own age, at Welton vicarage in the Pytchley 
country, with those excellent fox-coverts, Barlby and Badby 
woods close at hand, so that the inspiring sight of hounds and 
the galloping field was often afforded them. The vicar rarely 
refused a holiday when hounds met near, so that Aldridge and 
his companions not infrequently had a day on foot, although the 
Pytchley is not an ideal country for those hunting on foot. 

In addition to these opportunities for hunting, there was a 

138 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

good-hearted old Major living at Welton Place who might have 
stood for the original of Kipling's Colonel Dabney in " Stalky 
and Co.," for he gave the boys the run of his park and unlimited 
fishing in the lake, to the undisguised anguish of his keeper, 
who suspected the boys — with perfect justice — of poaching 

Years after Mr. Aldridge was dining with a sedate country 
squire who had been his boy friend at Welton, and reminded him 
of their many poaching exploits together ; but the train of 
thought was broken by a kick from his host's foot under the 
table, which drew his attention to the fact that the squire was 
making warning faces at him. " My butler must hear nothing 
of that," he whispered. " I, at all events, am now a respectable 
character, and want the butler still to think so. Besides, I often 
have to go for poachers on my own shoot, so please shut up." 
Mr. Aldridge obediently " shut up," and his host is still basking 
in the sunshine of his butler's esteem. 

Mr. Aldridge has always loved nature and all its birds and 
beasts, which led him, as a boy, to show even more than the 
usual boyish fondness for pets, and he tamed, or tried to tame, 
every sort of animal he could get hold of. He was known by 
the illuminating nickname of " Plodder," but it is not clear if 
this referred to his method of pursuing knowledge or field 
sports. Perhaps both. 

He took his degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, where 
he ran for the 'Varsity hare and liounds and hunted with the 
Trinity beagles — that remarkable little pack with which more 
well-known sportsmen have served their apprenticeship than 
with any other beagles in the country. 

At this time Mr. Aldridge had no idea of entering the Church, 
and went abroad. After knocking about the world for some 
time, he found himself in China under Sir Robert Hart, a remark- 
able man who made a reputation for himself in the East that 
has never been equalled by another European. At the time, 
Sir Robert was Inspector-General of the Customs in China, 
having practically created the customs service of that country 
as it exists to-day. Mr. Aldridge spent seventeen years out 
there, generally being given the wildest and most sporting 
stations by his chief, where the attractions mainly consisted of 
excellent shooting and the prospect of murder. After some 

The Rev. E. A. Aldridge 139 

years of hard work he received mandarin rank by an Imperial 
edict in recognition of his services. I reproduce his photograph 
in his mandarin robes. One rather trying obhgation imposed 
on mandarinhood by ancient Chinese law, is that they are 
required to accuse themselves of any shortcomings they may 
detect in their own conduct, and demand pimishment. This 
seems to me like taking bread out of the lawyers' mouths ! 

As his work generally took him away from the haunts of 
other white men, he did not get much riding, except when he 
happened to be near Shanghai, where there was a race-course, 
even in those early days, as well as frequent paper-chases. The 
only mount he took with him into the wilds was a little Chinese 
pony, but the shooting was still unspoilt, and his dogs and gun 
were his constant companions. He spent five years on the then 
unexplored island of Hainan, and for another five years was 
buried one thousand miles up the Yangtze river — an epic in 
loneliness that would have been too much for most people. 
Large fat volumes remain unwritten of his adventures and 
hair-breadth escapes during this time, for thirty years or more 
ago the " foreign devil " received as cold a welcome in the wilds 
of China as anywhere in the world. 

One of his narrowest escapes was when his would-be slayers 
so nearly caught him that he only escaped by slipping his arms 
out of his coat, which had been seized by the foremost of his 
enemies. He ultimately made his escape by hiding in a tangle 
of undergrowth among deep creeks, after running the gauntlet 
of showers of stones. He could hear the mob encouraging 
themselves by such kindly remarks as, " Kill him, kill him ! " and 
" Kill the foreign devil ! " On second thoughts I think I ought 
not to have said foreigners received a " cold " welcome in China ; 
I should have said a warm one. During another riot he lost 
everything he possessed except three dogs, which followed him 
in his flight while his house was being burnt to the ground ; and 
he subsequently took part in the defence of the Government 
buildings from the mob until relieved by British blue- jackets. 

It is probably to his up-country shooting-trips that he owes 
the fact that he is now a parson, for it was while in the interior 
that he saw much of the missionaries and was impressed by 
their self-sacrificing devotion. I am glad to hear this, for 
although I have travelled about the world a good deal and lived 

140 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

in the East for some years, I confess I do not cherish a very deep 
love for the missionary ; but I dare say that is only because I 
have not been fortunate in those I have met, and my untutored 
mind fails to grasp their virtues. I remember being chided by 
an old General who sat next me at dinner in Simla years ago, 
because I said I did not admire missionaries. In his view, he 
said, they performed most valuable service to the state by 
occasionally getting eaten, thereby providing most excellent 
training for young officers who accompanied the punitive ex- 
peditions sent out to avenge them ; but at that time there was 
not enough fighting to go round, and I am sure the General 
would change his view if he were alive to-day. 

Mr. Aldridge came home intending to return and work with 
the missionaries as a layman, but was persuaded to take Orders 
and stay in England to take up work in the crowded slums of 
Leeds. No change could have been more complete. After 
years of sport and adventure in the East, with few of his own 
race about him, and those few all cheery sportsmen, he found 
himself planted in the midst of the crowded squalor of an 
industrial slum. I doubt very much if he had seen anything in 
the wilds worse than the grim misery our civilisation can show, 
or if any number of missionaries could ever enable the heathen 
Chinee to appreciate what he had missed. In these new 
surroundings he even felt obliged to refuse pheasant-shooting 
invitations for fear he should offend the susceptibilities of his 
Leeds vicar ; yet how he must have longed for an occasional 
day among trees and open country to remind him of the old 
free life, after weeks and months in the choking gloom of the 
slums ! 

The call of the wild gradually grew on him — it would have 
been amazing had it not — and he began to feel like a caged 
bird. He took to running — ^quite an exciting sport in the 
crowded streets of a city — and it earned him the title of the 
" running parson," but helped to keep him alive. 

The shackles of conventional city life grew always more 
intolerable, and at last he obtained a country living, and some- 
thing of the old sense of freedom returned so that the call of the 
East grew fainter and less insistent ; but it is in his heart to this 
day, and still occasionally raises its small voice. 

At his new home Hannington, in Hampshire, he naturally 

The Rev. E. A. Aldridge 141 

found his recreation in sport, particularly hunting, but he has 
strong views on the subordination of sport to duty and has 
evolved a code of rules for his own guidance which will be of 
interest to all hunting parsons. In a letter to me on the subject 
of hunting he says, " The stories told of the old hunting parson 
— let us hope they are greatly exaggerated — must never be 
heard in modern times." But I am afraid there can be little 
doubt that the stories were not exaggerated. It is impossible 
to read the records of some of the hunting parsons of the first 
part of the nineteenth century which appear in this book 
without seeing that, however lovable they may have been as good 
fellows, however good sportsmen, and however charitable in 
their squirish way, they were often not parsons in any real sense 
of the word, and should never have set out to be clergymen 
at all. 

They had more than a little to do with the bad state of the 
Church of England before the reawakening set in and changed 
everything for the better — an event that may be dated, for 
want of a better landmark, from what is called the Oxford 
Movement. I have never heard of an officiating clergyman of 
the present day who has ever been accused of neglecting his 
work for the sake of sport, and I should not think there is a 
sensible person who would not agree that the modern hunting 
parson is generally the best parish cleric to be found in his 

Mr. Aldridge believes that a hunting parson should be even 
more than usually punctilious in the discharge of parish work. 
He once indulged in a morning's shooting before taking a 
wedding, and although he gave himself plenty of time to change 
before the service, he afterwards regretted having shot before- 

Talking about dressing for church recalls a strange ex- 
perience he had while a youngster at Cambridge. Before 
starting for the training-camp at Aldershot, he attended chapel 
in uniform and was promptly told by the janitor to go and change 
his " Buck-shooter's " dress. In the end he had to cover 
the Queen's uniform with a long surplice before he was allowed 
to take part in the service. This is a beautiful example of the 
different treatment accorded soldiers in peace and war. In 
peace time, right up to August, 1914<, a private soldier was 

142 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

ousted from saloon-bars with lofty scorn by the local green- 
grocer and his friends, and told to go to the jug-and-bottle 
entrance. A month after war was declared — the greengrocer 
and his like being thoroughly scared — Thomas Atkins, dazed 
but flattered, found himself being fed on buttered toast in 
mayoral drawing-rooms. 

But this is a shocking digression. Mr. Aldridge believes 
that a parson should pay attention to his hunting-kit and 
always turn out well dressed, as laymen note such things and 
like to see their parson smart. The question as to what is the 
correct kit for clergymen in the hunting-field remains un- 
settled, as no clerical tailor seems to have thought of devising a 
correct and distinctive outfit, which is a pity. 

Among his axioms are the following. The first I have 
already quoted ; it deals with the necessity of parish work 
always coming first. 

" If a clergyman wishes to enjoy the sport of fox-hunting, he 
must remember that ' none of us liveth to himself,' and take 
care not to let his ' good be evil spoken of. '" Which I take to 
mean that he has to be extra unselfish, because his most ordinary 
doings are more likely to be observed and criticised than those 
of laymen. 

" His hunting should meet with the approval of all around 
him, or he had better leave it alone, lest he bring discredit upon 
his high calling." A counsel of perfection indeed ! He is a 
lucky man who can do anything with the approval of all around 

" Let him buy his oats and straw in the village. . . . One day's 
hunting a week, with a frequent extra, will not be thought too 

" Whatever a parson does should be done well, and he 
should ride straight to hounds if he hunts, and take his falls 
cheerfully, for there are laymen inclined to look on him as an 
effeminate creature, neither fish nor fowl." 

It will be seen that this last axiom is almost identical with 
the oft-expressed opinion of Dean Hole, which is referred to in 
another chapter, and I feel rather crushed, as I ventured to 
disagree with it ; but Mr. Aldridge gives a good reason for his 
opinion, nor is he so arbitrary as Dean Hole, v/ho would not let 
a parson hunt unless he rode straight, if he could have had his 

The Rev. E. A. Aldridge 143 

way ; so I still hold a brief for the elderly and adipose cleric on 
the elderly and adipose cob, who, I maintain, has as much right 
to enjoy himself in his own way as anybody else. 

Once, while hunting with Lord Middleton's hounds, Mr. 
Aldridge remarked on the good influence of parsons on hunting- 
fields to a pal of his, a Yorkshire squire. " I don't know about 
the field," replied his friend, " but I do know it is very good for 
the parson." 

Here I quote Mr. Aldridge : " The kindly and honourable 
courtesies of hunting etiquette are so splendid. Its unwritten 
laws are not those that are more honoured in the breach than in 
the observance, and they should be specially upheld by the 
parson, and he can do so by being the first to jump off and open 
a heavy hanging gate ; help a friend in trouble ; ride clear of 
vetches, beans, or swedes, and warn the young thruster to do 
likewise. In the hunting-field I have never found anything 
but kindness and good-comradeship shown and self-restraint 
taught. I have never heard anything to give offence to a lady, 
even when righteous indignation has fallen sharply on the man 
over-riding hounds or injuring crops." 

A good example of courtesy and forbearance happened to 
him one cold morning while the Vine hounds were drawing a 
covert. The young cob he was riding lashed out, for the first 
and last time in its life, and inflicted a deep cut on the shoulder 
of the horse just behind. Its rider was almost a stranger to Mr. 
Aldridge, whose consternation and concern can be imagined. 
He had hardly time to begin expressing his regret, when the 
other cut him short, " Don't worry about it ; it couldn't be 
helped. Why, once while out with the Tedworth, my horse 
kicked, and I heard a loud thud behind me. Looking round, 
I said, ' I hope I have not personally injured you, sir ? ' I got 
the consoling answer, ' No, no, it was only my wooden leg.' " 

In this manner Mr. Aldridge made a new friend who has 
remained so to this day. The cut on the horse's shoulder was a 
bad one, but luckily a local veterinary surgeon was out and at 
once came to the rescue and sewed up the wound, refusing a fee, 
although they had all lost a day's hunting. From first to last 
there was not a word of complaint from anybody. 

Most of his hunting before the war was with the Vine, under 
the mastership of Lady Portal, who seldom, gave the order for 

144 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

home before most of the field had ah'eady sought theirs, while she 
was often accompanied not only by her son, but by her grandson. 

At an early cub-hunting meet of these hounds in the autumn 
before the war Mr. Aldridge found himself one of the youngest 
members of the scanty field. The air was full of the delicious 
smell of autumn and there was new life in the breeze that came 
across the downs, but he looked in vain for the younger genera- 
tion. There were three old Generals out, all old gunners, two 
of them being over eighty and Crimean veterans, while the 
third had distinguished himself at Ladysmith. The young 
bloods were presumably still in bed, but I will quote Mr. 
Aldridge. " Where are the rising generation ? " I thought. 
'' Probably just rising or still in bed ; their sport to be taken 
behind a motor steering-wheel, or languidly sitting on a stick 
until the whirr of partridges or pheasants over their heads 
rouses them to energy." 

So much for the rising generation of 1914. Most of them 
have found another and more lasting rest by now in the mud of 
France and Belgium since that early morning meet, and — who 
knows ? — the three dear old Generals are still at the covert- 
side all by themselves. 

Mr. Aldridge thinks that the pleasant chaff that is exchanged 
at the covert-side does everyone good. One day a friend said 
to another in his hearing, " Aldridge tells me that you have 
asked him to shoot on Monday ; I hope you have insured your 
life ? " " No," rephed the other, " but I have bought an extra 
thick pair of gaiters for the occasion." " That may not save 
you," chimed in Mr. Aldridge. " A man I know did that once 
when shooting with a German at Naiho. The German promptly 
peppered his legs through the hedge, and then exclaimed in a 
disappointed voice, ' Ach ! Mein Gott ! I thought you was one 
red fox.' " 

On another occasion, outside Hey wood in the Vine country, 
a youth said to Mr. Aldridge, " I say. Parson ; to pass the 
time, suppose you give us a sermon." To this callow jest he 
returned the reply, " Certainly, but as it is an uncommon 
request, suppose we do the uncommon thing and take the 
collection first ? " Suiting the action to the word, he presented 
his hat to the facetious youth, who dwindled visibly, the 
dwindling process being further accelerated by the gruff com- 

The REV. E. A. ALDRIDGE, M.D., F.R.G.S. 


[Ffiriiuj p. 144. 








The Rev. E. A. Aldridge 145 

ment of an M.P., " Well said ; you answered him quite right." 
Which showed that the good M.P.'s heart was in the right place 
even if his grammar was not. 

To all who can hunt, Mr. Aldridge says, " Do so, and keep 
young." Hunting in winter and mountain-climbing in summer 
have kept him surprisingly young and fit, and enabled him to 
stand a period of hard service in France that has knocked up 
many a younger man. 

One impossibly frosty day with the Vine he had a fall 
through his horse slipping on ice, and subsequently slithered off 
rather unexpectedly while negotiating a jump. On the way 
home he was in high spirits, maintaining that he had extracted 
more fun out of a poor day's sport than anyone else by his 
various catastrophes. " Oh," said one of his companions, 
addressing the company at large by way of excusing his hilarity, 
" Aldridge is still only a boy ; he was born so, and will remain so 
till the end of the chapter." I think that to have that said 
about one late in life must be pleasant. 

" No one knows better than I do how difficult it is to be a 
good country parson," he once wrote to me. " And I claim 
the parson's privilege of not always practising what I preach." 

He was the first in Hannington village to volunteer for 
service in August, 1914, but the villagers were not long in 
following his example and won the prize for the greatest pro- 
portional number of recruits. As I have said, he served as a 
doctor in the R.A.M.C. He was with the Brigade of Guards 
Hospital, and also with the Guards Division at Loos, where he 
was slightly wounded, and on the Somme. From them he went 
to the 12th Lancers, and later to the famous Scottish Division. 
He is still on active service as I write these lines, and doubtless 
working hard and gaining fresh experiences. 

Chapter XIII 

A Hundred Years Ago — Unostentatious Meets — The Rev. Wyer Honey — 
The Marland Harriers — One Thousand a Day — Sporting Management — 
The Vicar's Gardener — Typical Devonshire Farmer — Distemper in the Ken- 
nels — Mrs. Honey to the Rescue — Whisky and Milk — Exercising on Bicycles 
— Occasional Grief — A Terrier Runs with the Pack — The Terrier and the Baby 
— Was it an Adder ? — The Duke of Beaufort's Horses — The Huntsman's 
Nightmare Realised — A Hare out at Sea — The Hounds have a Swim — An 
Uncommon Hiding-place — Horse-clipping with Scissors — Dragged by a Dog 
— Tea-Parties and Tittle-Tattle — Hard Clerical Work — Horse and Rider Turn 
a Somersault — Refusing to Part Math Boots — A Poor Shot — " Bhnk Bonny " 
Defeated — Drunken Men in Church — The Vicar Deals with them — A Patient 
in a Vegetable Cart — Volunteers for the Front. 

IT is said that a liundred years ago all the parsons in North 
Devon hunted more or less regularly. I daresay it is 
true, and it is certainly still a remarkable county in that 
respect, as will be seen by reckoning up the number of sport- 
ing parsons who hail from Devonshire that appear in this 

Devonshire, like the lake-country and Ireland, is the home 
of the unostentatious hunt. Hidden away in the hills of those 
wild countries are little packs, the very names of which are 
hardly known to the outside world. Strangers are seldom seen 
out with them, for their territories are always too rough to 
attract visitors, and they exist solely for the enjoyment of the 
sporting folk of the locality. 

It is with the doings of one of these interesting little packs, 
the Marland harriers, that the name of the Rev. R. Wyer 
Honey is associated, for he restarted the pack in 1910 and 
hunted them until the great war necessitated their dissolution 
not long ago. 

Mr. Honey was born at Raithby rectory, Louth, Lincoln- 
shire, in 1871, where his father, the Rev. Doctor Wyer 
Honey, was rector. Dr. Honey was not a sportsman, and while 
he did not actively oppose his son's sporting proclivities, he did 
nothing to encourage them, so that it was lucky for the boy that 

The Rev. Wyer Honey, M.H. 147 

he had a grandfather whose tastes were more Hkc his own. 
This old gentleman, Mr. William Honey, who only died some 
sixteen years ago at the age of ninety-one, was a great sports- 
man, good shot and fisherman, good man to hounds, and 
something of a steeplechase rider in his day. Even in his later 
years he never weighed more than ten stone. 

The horses he owned as a young man used to be clipped 
with scissors — a process that took about three days, as 
clippers had not then been invented. 

Young Honey spent a good deal of his time with his grand- 
father, who shot over red setters and disliked being out with 
more than two guns, large shooting-parties being his pet aver- 
sion. One day the boy was leading a young setter in leash for 
his grandfather, and the dog, being wild, tried to break away 
after a rabbit. As Honey was only a very small boy at the 
time he was dragged along, face downwards, by the dog, but 
did not let go as he had been roundly scolded for doing so on a 
previous occasion. This time, rather to his surprise, he could 
hear his grandfather shouting, " Let go, let go ! " but he did 
not at once do so. At last he was dragged into some brambles, 
and as he could still hear cries of " Let go ! " he let go, but only 
just in time, for he found himself looking down a disused mine- 
shaft. Another foot and he would have been down it. The 
grandfather knew of its existence, hence his anxious shouts. 

Mr. Honey went to the old grammar-school at Tavistock, 
which has since been pulled down. From there he went to a 
private school in Scarborough, and thence to a tutor, the 
Rev. Canon A. E. Moore, who prepared boys for the army 
and universities. At Jesus College, Cambridge, his career was 

From the first he desired to become a clergyman. On the 
subject of sport and work I quote his own words : " I chose the 
Church for a profession, although some well-meaning friends at 
the time told me that they thought it was incompatible with my 
known sporting proclivities ; but looking back on the last 
twenty years, I do not honestly think that my work has suffered 
in the least degree from my love of sport ; in fact, on the 
contrary, I think one has helped the other." 

His best hunting was enjoyed with the Southwold foxhounds 
when he was a youngster and being mounted by a kind old 

148 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

friend, a Mr. George Oliver. Most of his school holidays, and 
later his vacations, were spent in his stables, as he lived only 
half a mile from the Honeys'. There were always a few colts 
and made hunters there, and he rode the youngsters for Mr. 
Oliver. Sometimes he would find himself on a capital mount, 
and at others he would have to deal with most awkward brutes, 
which was excellent training for him. One hunting morning 
Mr. Oliver said, " Now, Reg, I am going to mount you on the 
five-year-old chestnut, and if we get a decent run I want you to 
send her along, as I fancy she has a good turn of speed. I will 
give you a lead on a made hunter if you require it, and if she 
proves as fast as I expect, I shall run her in the Brocklesby and 
Southwold point -to-points, and you shall ride her." 

Young Honey was elated at this prospect, but it never 
materialised, as a week later the horse landed with its forefeet 
in a grip, or shallow drain, and strained its shoulder so badly it 
was never sound again. The fine big pastures and flying fences 
of thorn, with occasional guard rails, were a great treat to him 
and a complete contrast to the tiny fields of Devon, where there 
is no chance of letting a horse out between the fences. 

His first and only curacy was under the Rev. George 
Clark Green, at Modbury, near Plymouth. The vicar was a 
dear old man, an old Etonian and a great gentleman, who lived 
a gentle life in the love of his parishioners and the mild pleasure 
classical scholarship seems to give its possessors. He liked 
shooting, which he did badly, and was fond of fishing, which he 
did well, and had some fifty years at his vicarage to dream over 
on sunny afternoons when the fish were not rising. He had 
never hunted, but when the new curate said he was fond of a 
day with hounds, and he hoped the vicar did not object, the old 
man woke out of his day-dreams and remembered that he was a 
bit of a sportsman himself, so all he said was, " So long as you 
do not neglect your duty I shall not mind." And then, thinking 
perhaps that this was the occasion for a little homily, he added, 
" I would sooner see a young fellow have a good day's hunting 
once a week than spend three or four afternoons at tea-parties 
talking tittle-tattle." So the thing was satisfactorily arranged. 

After some years the old vicar's health began to fail, and he 
drifted into a bath-chair, in which he continued to come to 
church, but could take no active part in the service ; so that all 

The Rev, Wyer Honey, M.H. 149 

the work fell on Mr. Honey, who did not complain, as the vicar 
had always taken his full share, and sometimes more than his 
share while he was able to do so. But the work was no joke for 
the curate single-handed, as there were two churches, three 
miles apart, and there were always four services on Sunday. 

While still a curate, he was taking the three o'clock service 
in St. John's Church, Modbury, one Sunday, when in walked 
two extremely drunken men and sat down, one at each end of 
a bench. As they were quiet, he proceeded with the service 
until the second lesson was reached, when one of the men sud- 
denly stood up, letting the one at the other end of the bench 
down rather heavily on to the floor. Loud argument broke out 
between them, followed by blows and tumult. At that time 
Mr. Honey weighed nine stone seven pounds, which is a lovely 
hunting weight, but of little use when it comes to over-awing 
drunken coal-heavers. He bore down on them, nevertheless, 
and bade them begone. The combatants merely turned from 
their wrath for one short moment to see who it was that in- 
terrupted them, and then returned to their battle. This was a 
bad start, but the curate assumed his fiercest expression and 
addressed them again. " Now," he said, " I give you both half 
a minute to get out, and if you don't go then / shall put you out ! " 
To his surprise and joy they picked up their caps and went. 
Some days later he rode past them sitting at the side of the road, 
and one of them called out to him, " Passon Honey, we be 
coming to your church again soon." But they did not carry out 
their threat. 

Mr. Honey got on well with Gypsies, and understood their 
ways. They often camped in the neighbourhood, perhaps 
because his horse-buying qualities endeared him to their hearts. 
One awful night of wind and rain his friend, the parish doctor, 
was awakened by a Gypsy who said his wife was " terrible bad." 
" All right, I will come and see her," said the doctor, resigning 
himself to the prospect of a midnight ramble in the rain. 
" You need not do that," was the unexpected reply ; "I have 
brought her along in a cart for you." And sure enough, there 
she was laid on straw in a little cart. I tell this story to please 
country practitioners, who will instantly recognise this practice 
as a valuable one v>'hich wdll make their lives much happier if it 
becomes more widely adopted. 

150 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

As a parson Mr. Honey found it impossible to make time for 
both hunting and shooting, so gave up the latter entirely, whicli 
he did not mind much, as he was not a good shot ; indeed, he 
calls himself a " rotten shot," but it would be more accurate to 
say he was a very uncertain one. Sometimes he did fairly well, 
but on a bad day — he was very bad. One of these bad days 
happened to fall on the same date as a shooting-party at which 
he was one of the guns. By three o'clock, having fired many 
salvoes but failed to bag a single bird, the other guns became 
quite fascinated with watching him. At last one of the guns, 
who was wearing a brown bowler, offered in the kindest manner 
to throw his hat into the air if it would give Mr. Honey any 
pleasure to shoot at it. The hat was duly thrown and Mr. 
Honey blew it to pieces — ^the first hit of the day ! 

Although he had no time for shooting in the winter, he has 
done a lot of show-jumping in the summer. Being very fond of 
training horses, he not only managed to win a good many cups 
but often sold a horse at a good price after showing it. 

He once beat " Blink Bonny " (of the 1907 Olympia show) at 
an agricultural show near Plymouth while riding his bay horse 
" Silver Tail," which was a clever jumper as a rule, but had the 
disconcerting trick of taking every sort of show jump at full 
gallop. It was the only way he would jump, and sometimes 
led to making a mess of things, especially at the in-and-out 
hurdles. He occasionally managed to clear in-and-outs with one 
flying leap ! The day he beat " Blink Bonny " he was in one of his 
good moods, but when he was not, he was of little use in the ring. 

The best hunter Mr. Honey ever had was a chestnut gelding 
of just under sixteen hands. Bought as a four-year-old, it won 
several prizes in the hunter classes at shows. At its first show 
it took second prize in a very big class, and a dealer at once 
offered £120 for the horse, but Mr. Honey refused the offer and 
rode the chestnut for the next eight seasons, doing a regular two 
days a week and only getting two falls during the whole time. 
In the end Mr. Honey sold it to carry the huntsman of Mr. 
Scott Brown's hounds, and it came to an untimely end two years 
later. It broke away from a groom who was leading it at exer- 
cise and ran wild up the road until it collided with a dog-cart, . 
the shaft of which pierced its side so deeply that it fell dead. 

In 1913 Mr. Honey won the Stevcnstone point-to-point with 

The Rev. Wyer Honey, M.H, 151 

a little brown horse. There were thirty -three jumps in the 
three-mile course, and the horse led throughout. Mr. Honey 
has judged at hunter, hack, and harness classes at nearly all the 
shows, local and otherwise, held in Devonshire. 

He has been the vicar of Peter's Marland for about fourteen 
years, and is said to be nearly as good in the pulpit as he is 
across a country. His method is to make fairly full notes, 
amounting to about half the sermon, and to fill in the rest by 
inspiration as he goes along. 

The Marland harriers and their followers owed much to Mr. 
Honey's management and energy. I give a detailed description 
of this hunt establishment, as it is a typical one, and shows the 
amount of work and devotion it entails on those responsible for 
its management when the wheels have to go round without the 
all-powerful lubrication of an ample subscription list. 

Let the great Nabobs who calculate the expenses of running 
a foxhound country on the " One thousand a day " principle 
{i.e., two days a week, two thousand a year ; four days a week, 
four thousand a year, etc.) pay attention to this story of the 
Marland subscription harriers. 

A good many years ago the country was hunted by a pack 
owned by Colonel Moore Stevens, but it was given up. When 
Mr. Honey took the living of Peter's Marland, near Torrington, 
he set about reviving them. First of all he gained the good-will 
of the tenants and landlords ; then hares had to be bought and 
turned down, as they had become very scarce since the former 
pack ceased to exist. Finally a meeting was held, at which 
Colonel Moore Stevens was elected master, and Mr. Honey 
huntsman, of the newly-established pack of sixteen-inch 
beagles. This was in 1910 ; two years later they were turned 
into harriers, the hares having done their duty nobly, and 
the stock increasing rapidly. 

This part of Devonshire is a country of small fields enclosed 
by big, unkempt banks which are difficult obstacles for beagles 
to negotiate, and impede the pack much more than they do the 
hare. No doubt this was one of the chief reasons why the pack 
was changed into eighteen to eighteen-and-a-half-inch harriers, 
sixteen couples being kept. 

Some of the vicarage outbuildings were turned into kennels, 
and at first the honorary secretary acted as whipper-in on 

152 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

hunting days, providing his own horse and hunt kit, but he had 
to resign the post owing to the exigencies of business. The 
vicar's gardener developed into kennelman, and did everything 
except shoot old horses sent to the kennels as flesh. The 
kennelman was so keen that he followed the pack on foot for a 
few hours when they met near, before returning to his work, so 
when the honorary secretary could no longer whip-in he was 
promoted to that high office ; but his genius did not lie in this 
direction and the experiment had to be abandoned. A pro- 
fessional whipper-in therefore became necessary, but, as Mr. 
Honey pointed out at the committee meeting, the feeding of 
an extra horse would be a severe tax on the hunt's resources. 
The difficulty was overcome by a sporting farmer on the com- 
mittee getting up^ — his name deserves to be recorded : it was Mr. 
John Martin of Little Marland — and saying, " Look here, sir, 
the extra horse shan't cost you or the hunt anything for its 
keep." And he provided hay, straw, and oats throughout the 
season. The horse question settled. Will Ford was engaged as 
whipper-in. The vicar took his full share of the work in kennel 
and stable, in addition to digging the garden in spare moments. 

In the spring of 1912 this little establishment was overtaken 
by a dire calamity. In the first place most of the puppies were 
down with distemper, and on top of that there was an epidemic 
of influenza which prostrated both Mr. Honey and the kennel- 
man. In this crisis Mrs. Honey came to the rescue and managed 
to keep things going while her husband was laid up. She 
exercised the pack on foot and on a bicycle, nursed Mr. Honey 
and also the puppies, who had to be fed with spoonfuls of 
whisky and milk every three hours, as they were too bad to lap 
on their own account. Anyone who has had to nurse hound 
puppies through a bout of distemper will appreciate what that 
item, alone, of her task meant. 

In summer-time Mrs. Honey also helped to exercise the pack 
with her husband, starting at six thirty a.m. and returning at 
eight. Bicycles were used, except when coupled puppies were 
running with them, as they used to invariably bring the riders 
to grief by getting the couplings across the front wheel. 

After this fashion the pack was kept going season after 
season, all hands doing their best towards the common end. 
The question of flesh was always an important one in a kennel 

The Rev. Wyer Honey, M.H. 153 

where expense had to be considered in every detail, because 
flesh is cheaper than meal, and the more meat you can get the 
less meal is used ; but flesh is not easy to come by in most 
countries. Mr. Honey got a good many old horses from the 
Gypsies, who knew he was always a buyer, and often brought 
them from considerable distances. He paid a fixed price of 
seven shillings a horse, which was cheap, the usual price at 
kennels for old horses in the west country before the war being 
ten shillings each, or more. 

These harriers hunted three days a fortnight and were 
always turned out in a neat and workmanlike manner. For 
several seasons a terrier ran with the pack, which is unusual 
with harriers, owing to the unquenchable love for rabbits shown 
by most terriers. The dog had come to the country with Mr. 
Honey, a great pet and redoubtable badger-drawer — in fact, he 
was afraid of nothing and had been known to bowl over vulgar 
sheep-dogs of three times his own size. By this I do not mean 
that he was a loud and truculent dog seeking trouble every- 
where ; on the contrary, he was restrained in manner and 
assumed the" I-don't-want-to-fight,but-by-Jingo-if-I-do " ! atti- 
tude. When his master restarted the harriers, the dog insisted 
on going with the hounds. He often found hares by working 
the hedgerows, and followed the pack when running with a 
deadly earnestness that generally enabled him to catch up at 
checks, although he was always hopelessly left when they ran 
at all hard. Sometimes he would get completely left behind, in 
spite of all he could do, in which case he would go sadly home by 
himself, but more often he stuck it out till the end of the day 
and trotted home beside the huntsman's horse, to the entire 
satisfaction of both dog and horse, as they were fast friends, the 
terrier sleeping in its loose box at night. It was friendly with 
all, including the Honey baby. 

One day he did not return with the pack, nor was there any 
sign of him at home. He was absent all the next day, but 
crawled in that night in a pitiable state, being swollen to nearly 
twice his proper size. It was difficult to say what was the matter 
with him, and the vet. was called in. The dog recovered, and it 
was supposed that he had been bitten by an adder, which is 
quite a common snake in Devonshire and often bites hoimds , 
especially otter-hounds during the summer months. 

154 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

I once sent a favourite old hunter to Black Torrington, which 
is quite close to Peter's Marland, to a doctor who kindly offered 
it a good home, and the poor old thing was almost at once 
bitten b}^ an adder and died. 

Of the many horses that have passed through Mr. Honey's 
hands, only one was a made hunter when he bought it. As a 
rule he only indulged in raw colts and made them into hunters 
himself. The hunt stables held two horses, one for the whip 
and one for himself. 

I remember once my son asking the Duke of Beaufort how 
many horses he owned, counting those out at grass. After 
musing awhile he admitted that he really did not know exactly, 
but hazarded the guess that he must have " about a hundred." 
But I doubt very much if that kind and splendid old sportsman 
got as much fun out of his six-day-a-week establishment as 
Mr. Honey did out of the Marland harriers. 

Before he hunted the Marland, Mr. Honey was master of the 
Modbury harriers in South Devon during the season 1905-6, 
and before that had whipped-in for some years. On one awful 
occasion with this pack he realised the traditional huntsman's 
nightmare by seeing the leading hounds disappear over the 
cliffs. They had met at Battisborough Cross, and had a first- 
class run of over an hour without a check, when the hare and 
three leading hounds came to the cliffs and went over. Hasten- 
ing to the beach by a less precipitous route to pick up the pieces, 
he found, to his relief, that both hare and hounds had managed 
to get down safely. The hare was sitting on a rock some way 
out to sea, with the three hounds swimming round. As none of 
them seemed inclined to come ashore, the master feared they 
would be drowned, but a plucky horse-breaker, who was out, 
volunteered to swim to them, which he succeeded in doing. 
Another day, during the same season, he had run a hare for 
some time, and saw her jump a bank about half a field ahead of 
the pack. When the hounds reached the spot they checked, 
and a forward cast failed to recover the line. At last he saw 
the hare sitting on the roof of a shed, or " linhay," as they call 
them down there. She had evidently run along the bank and 
jumped on to the roof from it. 

I have seen hunted hares take to stranger hiding-places 
than this. Once in particular I remember a pack of harriers 

The Rev. Wyer Honey, M.H. 155 

checking outside some stables belonging to a large country 
house. The hare seemed to have completely evaporated until 
an old groom appeared in the stable door carrying a bucket 
which he phlegmatically turned up as if to throw away water, 
but instead of water out jumped the hare. The groom had seen 
her steal into the stable and quietly jump into the empty 

On another occasion when I was out, there was a check in 
an orchard late one frosty evening, when it was freezing so hard 
we thought there would be no more hunting for a long time to 
come. The way hounds checked suggested that the hare 
might be squatting somewhere close at hand, so the master and 
whipper-in dismounted and entered the orchard on foot ; but 
the grass was quite short and there did not seem cover enough 
to hide a mouse. After searching in vain, the master regarded 
the hare as lost, and happened to sit down for a moment on the 
trunk of a fallen apple-tree. As he sat, his attention was drawn 
to a tiny trickle of steam rising into the frosty air through a 
little hollow knot apparently leading into the solid trunk of the 
tree, but examination showed that the tree was hollow and the 
ha,re inside. 

The best run Mr. Honey had with the Marland was with a 
little Jack hare at the end of the season. They ran for an hour 
and a half from Berry Farm to Bursdon in Langtree parish, 
where they killed. It was a five-mile point and nine as hounds 
ran, with only two checks, while the jumping provided by the 
frequent banks was enough to satisfy anybody. 

Every man who hunts regularly, especially if he rides un- 
broken or half-broken colts, has his fair share of falls, but all 
Mr. Honey's have been more or less good-natured tosses, except 
one which came near to being his last. The Dartmoor hounds 
had had a good run of over an hour and were just about to run 
into their fox. Mr. Honey was pushing on as fast as he could so 
as to be in at the death, although, of course, his horse was fairly 
blown. Horse and rider began to descend a steep tor, which is 
about the last thing he can remember clearly. Whether the 
horse stepped on a slide of loose stones, or put its foot into a 
hole, is now impossible to say ; anyhow, it fell, turning a com- 
plete somersault and landing right on top of its rider. 

Mr. Honey thought its neck must be broken, as it never 

156 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

moved, and lay on him like a log. He did not know how long 
they lay like this ; it began to snow and he became only semi- 
conscious and it seemed as though eternity had begun, although 
it was really only about twenty minutes before two returning 
sportsmen found him. Luckily enough, one was a doctor. All 
this time the horse was lying as though dead, and had to be 
rolled out of the way before Mr. Honey could be moved. It was 
found that his collar-bone and three ribs were broken, in addition 
to internal injuries, and the doctor feared his spine was affected, 
as he had lost the use of his legs. They carried him on a hurdle 
to the bottom of the tor, where a cart took him to a local asylum, 
which happened to be the nearest building. At the asylum 
they wanted to cut off his hunting boots, but he feebly pro- 
tested, so to humour him they pulled them off ; long afterwards 
he was told they did not think at the time that he would ever 
want any sort of boots again. He did not reach home for five 
hours after the accident, and was in bed from March till June. 
For a long time it did not seem that he would quite recover the 
full use of his legs, but to-day he is as sound as ever. 

In the Stevenstone country he once turned up at a meet 
wearing a most beautiful new top-hat which he justly believed 
to be the object of general admiration. Soon after hounds had 
found he jumped a fairly large boundary fence, over which the 
landing was so soft that his horse sank in and pecked so badly 
that he was thrown over its head and landed on his own, plunging 
his hat into the spongy ground and remaining in that ostrich-like 
attitude for some moments. When he extricated himself the 
hat-brim encircled his brow and the crown remained stuck in 
the ground as neatly as a new golf-hole ! The sad affair was 
made the subject of a sketch by an artistically-minded friend. 

Mr. Honey must have inherited his resourcefulness from his 
father, who was richly endowed with that quality, as is evident 
from the following story. At his Bible-class one afternoon the 
boys were reading the description of Jacob's ladder set up from 
earth to heaven with the angels ascending and descending. 
One boy suddenly asked the vicar why winged angels should 
want a ladder ? This was a poser to which he could find no 
immediate answer, but he rose to the occasion magnificently 
by saying, " Now that is a very sensible question, very 
sensible indeed, and I am sure there must be some of you who 

The Rev. Wyer Honey, M.H. 157 

can answer it correctly." A long and thoughtful pause followed, 
broken by an erudite youth with spectacles. " Please, sir, 
perhaps they was moulting ! " 

One of Mr. Honey's stories is of a yokel, met on the road one 

Vicar. — Well, George, where are you going ? 

George. — B'aint going nowhere. 

Vicar. — But you must be going somewhere. 

George. — No, I b'aint, I be coming back. 

When the war broke out it was decided to disband the 
Marland pack, partly owing to the high price of meal and the 
decrease in subscriptions, and partly because Mr. Honey's 
horses had been commandeered by the Government. Two 
sporting farmers took the hounds, and continued to hunt them 
one day a week as a trencher-fed pack, known as the Hather- 
leigh and Marland harriers. Mr. Honey volunteered to go to 
the front as a chaplain, and got his Bishop's consent, but the 
War Office considered him too old. 

Chapter XIV 

The Rev. Samuel Davis Lockwood — In Shirt-sleeves — As Medicine Man — 
A Romantic Affection — Classical Scholar — A Prodigious Jump — A Passion 
for the Heythrop — Puppy Walking — An Enthusiast — Was it Hallucination ? 
— A Fox on the Door-mat — Labour Troubles — Joseph Arch, the Primitive 
Methodist — Anxious Moments — Common-sense Methods — Clerical Modesty 
— " The Dream of an Old Meltonian " — A Sackful of Sermons — An Over- 
due Tithe — A Born Teacher — Greek at Westminster — Macaulay as a Boy — 
A Pedantic Reply — A Wreath from Penny Subscriptions. 

THE REV. DAVIS LOCKWOOD, rector of Kingham, near 
Oxford, for over thirty years, was a simple man and a 
furious hard worker. He did not wear clerical kit, 
preferring to go about his business looking like what he was 
— as much a worker as any of his parishioners. 

On high ecclesiastical occasions, when he felt bound to put 
on the white collar of his profession, it did not suit him, and he 
was never really happy until it was off again and he was trotting 
about the village in his rough clothes, sometimes hatless and in 
his shirt-sleeves. 

His was the typical life of the old Tory country parson of 
good family. The years slipped by in the contented performance 
of parish duties, including the farming of his own land and 
enlivened by a penchant for doctoring his parishioners which 
earned him some fame as a medicine man. He was at peace 
with everyone and everyone very much at peace with him, but 
behind all this placid humdrum routine smouldered two 
separate and abiding passions : a passion for teaching, at which 
he was uncommonly successful, and a passionate love for the 
Heythrop hunt, for which he cherished a romantic affection all 
his life. 

Fishing he did not care for, preferring the duties of his parish 
to a day beside the finest trout-stream, and he never shot ; 
an afternoon spent in routing about in an Oxford don's library 
was much more to his taste, and he read classics to such purpose 
that he often took the wind out of the sails of University pundits 
by the wide range of his Latin and Greek quotations. 

When he went for country walks he was absorbed in natural 

The Rev. S. D. Lockwood 159 

history and spent hours in studying the ways of birds and 
beasts, only drawing the Hne at things that crawl, such as 
beetles, which he did not like. He would go his gentle way like 
this from Monday until Friday, and then on Saturday he would 
go out with the Heythrop and ride " like the dickens," as I 
have heard it expressed, and as though he had a spare neck in 
each pocket. 

No one who had not seen him on a horse would have taken 
him for a sportsman, nor was he one except in his love for 
hunting ; once on a horse he was a different man. The book- 
worm was transformed into the hardest of hard-riding top- 
sawyers whenever he drew on his well-worn hunting-boots and 
sallied out on one of the odd-looking screws he bought cheap and 
schooled into useful hunters for his own. use. 

An awe-stricken sportsman, after watching him take the 
locked railway -gates of a level crossing as an in-and-out jump, 
once ventured to murmur his congratulations, but the vicar's 
only reply was, " Well, you needn't tell my wife about it ! " 

Even on the best of mounts one might be forgiven for 
avoiding such stout and high gates as the railway companies 
affect, especially with steel rails to land on, and the second gate 
to take practically from a stand ; but when it is remembered 
that he nearly always rode little horses that some people would 
unhesitatingly call screws, it becomes a noteworthy feat, but 
quite in keeping with his usual methods. His mount in the 
photograph of him is typical. A finer example of an ewe neck 
could not be found outside the pictures of Rossetti's damsels. 

" If you want to see sport, you must be where hounds are," 
was his hunting motto, and he consistently lived up to it. In a 
magazine article published some years ago on the members of 
the Heythrop hunt, there is a reference to him. " We must 
not omit to mention the Rev. Davis Lockwood of King- 
ham, of whom it is said that he can get over a bigger place on a 
small horse than any member of the field." 

Strangers out with the Heythrop were often advised to take 
the old parson, wearing the out-of-date tall hat and old cord 
breeches, as a pilot, but very few ever managed to do it success- 
fully. He was fortunate in only having one really bad fall in 
his life, and that was in 1898, when he broke four ribs and also 
probably injured his heart, for he often complained of it 

i6o Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

afterwards, and it was heart-failure that killed him eventually. 

He was faithful to the Heythrop all through his hunting 
career, and never hunted with any other pack except Captain 
Evans's harriers when a small boy. He was hunting with the 
Heythrop before even Mr. Albert Brassey began his long 
mastership in 1873. The country, the pack, the people, he 
loved them all. To him a hound was a beautiful and wonderful 
thing, and he walked Heythrop puppies for thirty years, suffering 
the unending worries of their presence about the vicarage 
uncomplainingly. Like so many regular puppy-walkers, he was 
most unlucky in the matter of winning prizes at the puppy 
shows, and never won a cup until the year before his death, when 
he took second prize for dog-hounds with " Vanguard ; " he was 
very pleased, and in responding to the toast of the successful 
walkers he wound up by saying, " I have had so many happy 
days with the Heythrop, that if I could walk the whole pack I 
would be pleased to do so." 

There is no doubt that hunting does create a sentimental 
affection that other sports do not. The keen shooting man does 
not feel it. If he hears shots they do not awaken in him the 
strong emotions the old hunting man feels when he hears the 
cry of hounds after years of absence. I think if anyone shares 
his feelings it may be the fisherman on hearing the babble of 
some once-loved trout-stream. 

Like his horses, Mr. Lockwood was not showy, and rather 
despised matters of dress in the hunting-field. Epochs such as 
the advent of the cut-away pink coat or the lesser affairs of 
square or rounded corners to coat skirts left him cold. His 
clothes were always strictly utilitarian, and his tall hat seldom 
free from the concertina marks of some bygone fall. 

The type of man that religiously sticks to his own country 
and never hunted in any other was more common in the last 
generation than in this. One of his axioms was, that all that is 
best in horseflesh is usually to be found between fourteen and 
fifteen hands in height. Naturally, after a lifetime spent in one 
hunt, his knowledge of the country was profound and he was 
credited with the legendary power of knowing the run of every 
fox in the country. He often left the house at four o'clock in 
the morning for some distant cub-hunting meet long after he 
had ceased to be by any means a young man, and he said he 

The Rev. S. D. Lock wood i6i 

found as much pleasure in cubbing as in the full-blown sport of 
December or January. 

His extraordinary keenness made him one of the most 
remarkable figures the Heythrop country has ever produced. 
He belonged to the little band of enthusiasts that exists in most 
countries, who really do not care whether they finish a day five 
miles from home or fifteen, and stay out with the pack to the 
bitter end, even at the most distant meets. 

Returning from hunting one afternoon after the pack had 
lost, he was amazed to see a fox — perhaps the hunted one — 
asleep on the mat at the back door of the vicarage. After 
contemplating this unusual spectacle for some moments he 
softly dismounted and stole round the house to fetch his little 
daughter to see it, but when they returned the fox was gone. 
Those who know anything about foxes will agree that this is an 
extraordinary story. It seems to me that it must have been a 
case of suggestion : his mind had been running on foxes in 
general, and the lost one in particular, and this absolutely 
life-like illusion of a sleeping fox on the door-mat was the result. 
If so it was a very strange example of this sort of thing, for it 
was not a glimpse, but a sustained picture that was there all 
the time he was dismounting, and part of the time he was tip- 
toeing round to look for the child. This explanation was often 
put to him, but he would never accept it, and was always firmly 
convinced that he had seen an actual fox. Of course, on logical 
grounds it is impossible to say that a fox will not come and fall 
asleep on the door-mat in the middle of the afternoon, but it 
seems almost incredible in practice. There is the story, any- 
how, and the knowledgable ones of the Psychical Research 
Society can judge the matter, if suggestion comes within the 
scope of their investigations. 

I always believed implicitly that if you brought up a child 
in the way it should go, as soon as it was old enough it would do 
the other thing, but this belief has been shaken by the records 
of the Lockwood family, for both Mr. Lockwood's father and 
grandfather were good parsons and hard riders to hounds in 
their day. His father was vicar of Kingham for many years, 
and when he died, in 1880, Mr. Lockwood succeeded him at 
rather a trying time, for the uprising of the farm-labourers under 
the now forgotten Joseph Arch was still in progress. 


1 62 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Joseph Arch (who recently passed away) was a Warwick- 
shire farm-hand who became a Primitive Methodist preacher, 
and, later on, M.P. He founded the National Agricultural 
Labourers' Union, which was the first attempt to gain 
organised representation for the farm-men. The effort 
created a good deal of unrest at the time and, in Kingham, 
aroused a hitherto unheard-of wave of criticism and suspicion. 
The old relationship between parson and peasant was in 
danger of being lost, and the struggle — for it was a real 
struggle — caused Mr. Lockwood a good deal of unhappiness ; 
but not for long, for his perfect honesty and good-will reconciled 
even the fiercest revolutionaries, who became his friends almost 
to a man. 

Mr. Lockwood saw little of the world outside his parish, but 
inside it he knew every man, woman, and child, and understood 
them thoroughly. 

In the early days of compulsory education, the village 
mothers went to him to air their pent-up storms of indignation 
over the iniquities of a law that sent their children to school 
instead of to house-work, or when their offspring had been 
chastened by the schoolmaster. On these occasions his method 
was simple. " Let them have their say out, until they have no 
breath left in them, and then soothe them down with a few 
plain words," was his description of the method. After one of 
these ladies had exhausted herself in this manner, he remarked, 
" The hounds will be at Churchill Heath in about half an hour. " 
At this she jumped up and made off in that direction quite 
happily. A little irrelevance seems to have done almost as 
much good as a few plain words in this case — a not unusual 
occurrence in village controversy. 

His sermons were modest enough, and he often amused 
people by starting his discourse with an emphatic expression of 
disbelief that they were of the slightest use. Doubts as to the 
powerful effects wrought by their sermons are not very usual 
among clerics, but Mr. Lockwood's expressed uncertainty was 
real, and not mere modesty. In a letter to his brother, thanking 
him for a copy of verses, he wrote, " The last five verses are 
better than a sackful of sermons, and might with advantage be 
fixed on every church door in the country." 

In the hope that readers may extract benefit to the equivalent 

The Rev. S. D. Lockwood 163 

of a sackful of sermons, I give the verses referred to, which have 
been lent to me in manuscript by the vicar's brother, Captain 
H. Lockwood. They are from the late Bromley Davenport's 
poetic eruption, inspired by a great run from Ranksborough 
gorse, entitled " The Dream of an Old Meltonian." 

And oh, young descendants of ancient top-sawyers. 
By your lives to the world their example inforce. 
Whether landlords, or parsons, or statesmen, or lawyers. 
Ride straight, as they rode it from Ranksborough gorse. 

Though a rough-riding world may bespatter your breeches. 
Though sorrow may cross you, and slander revile. 
Though you plunge over head in misfortune's blind ditches. 
Shun the gap of deception, the hand-gate of guile. 

Oh ! avoid them, for see, there the crowd is contending, 
Ignoble the object, ill-mannered the throng. 
Shun the miry lane falsehood with turns never ending. 
Ride straight for truth's timber, no matter how strong. 

I'll pound you sure over, sit steady and quiet 
Along the sound headland, if honesty steer ; 
Beware of false holloas and juvenile riot, 
Tho' the oxer of duty loom wide, never fear. 

And when the run's over of earthly existence, 
And you get safe to ground, you shall feel no remorse 
If you've ridden, no matter the line, or the distance. 
As straight as they rode it from Ranksborough gorse. 

How far he was right in his belief that sermons have little 
influence on their listeners is a matter of opinion, but Mr. 
Lockwood's, at any rate, were always full of common sense, and 
men of travel and experience sometimes went to hear him twice 
on the same Sunday. His sermons began life in the form of 
notes on the back of old envelopes, scribbled during breakfast 
on Sunday morning, and he always robed in the house, walking 
to church in full canonicals. 

He had three pet subjects which by persistence and recur- 
rence really did seem to make an impression on his villagers. 
The first subject was backbiting ; the second the responsibility 
of parents for the upbringing of their children ; and the third 
consisted of denunciations of an extreme brand of Calvinism 
which led people to regard themselves as " elect." This last, 
his discourses apparently succeeded in uprooting. His admoni- 
tions against backbiting were exemplified in his life, for he never 
said a word against anyone if he could possibly help it. But 
there was one man against whom he could not resist launching 
a few mild censures ; this reprehensible person died worth 

164 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

seventy thousand pounds, after refusing all his life to pay Mr. 
Lockwood his tithe of eighteen pounds a year. The rector's 
delivery was rather melancholy as a rule, but when one of his 
three pet subjects was the order of the day he became strong 
and effective. 

Next to hunting came teaching in his affections. It is 
wonderful that there should be people who really enjoy in- 
structing fellow-mortals. The average person's hair begins to 
turn grey at the very thought, but Mr. Lockwood revelled in it 
and was never happier than when jockeying pass-men at Oxford 
through their examinations. 

As a youngster he was not intended for the Church, and 
joined the 13th Bengal Cavalry in the Peshawar division, which 
was then commanded by his relative. General Sir Sydney Cotton ; 
but he did not stay in India long, as his health broke down and 
he came home on sick leave. It was decided that he was not 
strong enough for the army, so he sent in his papers, and made 
up his mind to take Orders. As he was too old to enter a 
college in the ordinary way, he went to St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, 
to work for his degree. He had forgotten all the Greek he had 
learned at Westminster — if he ever learned any there ; he always 
stoutly maintained that he never learned anything at school 
whatever. As a consequence he had to start all over again with 
the Greek alphabet, but perseverance pulled him through, in 
spite of the fact that he hunted three or four days a week each 
season. He must have been helped through his time at Oxford 
by his exceptional memory. It does not sound like a very 
grand memory when I say that he had forgotten all his Greek 
so soon, but we know he had not learnt much at Westminster, 
as he said, for the fact remains that he really had a very fine 
memory, and Wilberforce, then Bishop of Oxford, who ordained 
him, told a relative of Lockwood's afterwards that he had been 
the best of all the candidates in Greek ! 

He was always a voracious reader, and ransacked his friends' 
libraries for fresh books to read. Once he had been through a 
book he could quote extensively from it for years afterwards, 
so that in time friends found it hard to find him something he 
had not already read. The " Pickwick Papers " he could quote 
from ad lib. Scott and Dickens were his favourite authors, 
Marryat's " Peter Simple " he was very fond of, but works on 

The Rev. S. D. Lockwood 165 

natural history and travel were his staple diet. Poetry was not 
much in his line, but Pread's " Vicar " — a gem which I fear is 
almost forgotten — delighted him, especially the stanza which 
ends : 

And when religious sects run mad, 

He held, in spite of all this learning. 
That if a man's behef is bad 

It will not be improved by burning. 

Learning must be a comparatively easy matter to people 
with very retentive memories. When I read a book its contents 
are reflected before me as in a mirror and soon become a more or 
less blurred memory, but to men like Mr. Lockwood reading a 
book must be like hanging a minutely exact steel engraving in 
one's mind ready to be consulted at any time. Very nice in 
moderation, no doubt, but it might become too much of a good 
thing, as in the case of Macaulay, who could repeat verbatim — 
commas, stops, and everything — whole columns of anything he 
had read for years. 

It may have been the first-fruits of this affliction that 
enabled him at the age of four when his mother asked, " Is 
darling baby's nasty toothache better ? " to reply, " I thank 
you, madam, the agony has somewhat abated." At least so 
the story goes, but I do not vouch for it. 

While Mr. Lockwood was reading for his degree he met the 
man who was to be his lifelong friend, Mr. Warde Fowler, a 
don and also an accomplished naturalist, and it is to him that 
I am indebted for so much information about Mr. Lockwood's 

After his ordination Mr. Lockwood acted for some time as 
his father's curate at Kingham, and then took a small living at 
Woodeaton in 1871, and married Miss Sophia Theresa Wynter, 
daughter of the Rev. Philip Wynter. Woodeaton is close 
to Oxford, and it was at this time that his unusual gifts as a 
teacher came to light. Mr. Warde Fowler had more college 
pass-work than he cared for, so he entrusted him with the Latin 
prose of a few undergraduates, and the venture proved an 
instant success. He understood exactly what was wanted and 
rarely failed to get his pupils through their examinations. 

When he left Woodeaton to take the Kingham living after 
his father's death he sorely missed this work, and it was many 

i66 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

years before he had another opportunity of teaching pupils 
worthy of his steel. 

The living of Kingham came into the Lockwood family by 
the marriage of his great-grandfather with Miss Doudeswell of 
Worcestershire, who rebuilt the rectory in 1688. In addition 
to the many sporting parsons they have produced, there was a 
fighting parson, rector of Towcester, who was wounded beside 
King Charles at the Battle of Naseby. 

Mr. Lockwood had never been a strong man, and as he grew 
older his health was by no means good. He often ventured out 
hunting rashly, when his asthmatic bronchitis was on him, and 
it was a hunt in November, 1911, that brought on so severe an 
attack that heart-failure supervened. He was buried a few 
days later in Kingham churchyard, where a lych-gate has since 
been put up to his memory. Mr. Lockwood was very popular 
both amongst hunting people and parishioners, and the school 
children sent a beautiful wreath to his funeral, subscribed for 
by penny subscriptions all on their own initiative. 


[Facing p. 166, 

[Phntmirnpli hij V<ih L'Esfniiujr, 135;..S?oo)(c Street, S.W.] 


Facino p. 167. 

Chapter XV 

The Rev. Rupert Inglis — A "Blue" — Becomes an Army Chaplain — Letter to his 
Parishioners — 'No. 23 General Hospital — A^ Wounded Boy's Appetite — 
A Friendly Postman — A New Disease — A Much-Travelled Bullet — Chaplains' 
Duties — No "Cushy Job" — American Terms of Endearment — Princess 
Christian's Ambulance Train — A Lesson for the Kaiser — Doubtful Kindness 
^Bishop of Winchester's Son Killed — Tragic Meeting of Brothers — The Rev- 
Neville Talbot Wins Military Cross— Twenty-seven Wounds — A Peep into 
German Trenches — Curious Find in a Church — A Promise Fulfilled — A Gifted 
Corporal : His Romantic Life — Shell-shock Sufferers — Doctors and Nurses 
Quarrel — A Factory Dressing-Station — Scratch Pack at Mess — Domestic 
Life in the Trenches — Mr. Inglis " Cute " at Dressing Patients — Tragedy of 
the Towels — Sunday Work — Liquid Fire Shells — Gordon Geddes Inspecting 
— Chaplain Inglis and Captain English get Mixed — Some " Topping Things " 
A " Little Beast "—Talking Sport— An Awful Night— A Week-end in a Shell- 
Hole — A Resurrection — The Shropshires' " Little Affair " — ^Through Fire and 
Water — Gallant Lance-Corporal — Doctors Worn Out — ^The Prince of Wales 
in the Trenches — A " Full House" — German Written Orders — Padre IngHs 
Missing — Some Letters and a Memorial Chapel. 

IN 1914 Mr. Inglis was the rector of a little Kentish village 
where he had lived some years, and where he took it for 
granted he would die in due course and be buried 
after the fashion of previous rectors. 

On September 18, 1916, he was killed in the battle of the 
Somme at the age of fifty-three, while rescuing wounded with 
conspicuous gallantry. 

Years ago I remember being thrilled by the adventures of 
Conan Doyle's " Brigadier Gerard," a soldier of Napoleon's 
Grand Armee. It seemed to me that it was wonderful that 
there could ever have been days of such heroic adventures, of 
such great battles, such bravery, such suffering, and it seemed 
quite clear that there could never be such days again. 

To-day the story of a quiet middle-aged rector, suddenly 
snatched from his vestry meetings and Sunday-schools and flung 
into the world-war, where the dormant passions of his fighting 
forefathers awoke and carried him through scenes of terror and 
horror to a most noble death, is a commonplace one, one of a 
thousand others as strange, and stranger. Yet in those few 

i68 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

months the rector saw what was vaster, more terrible and far 
grimmer than the veterans of Napoleon's army ever dreamed of. 

The Rev, Rupert Inglis was a parson of the traditional kind. 
He entered theChm-chas the youngest son of Major-GeneralSir 
John Inglis, K.C.B., the defender of Lucknow during the 
mutiny, and was neither daringly High Church nor depressingly 
Low, but a plain orthodox Church of England man. 

His athletic career at Rugby and Oxford had been a good 
one, for at school he got his colours both for cricket and football, 
and at Oxford was in the Rugby XV. for three years, and won 
the Rugby International Cap. He was given his " Blue " as 
a freshman at Oxford, as he was a fine forward who made the 
most of his weight in the pack. After leaving Oxford he joined 
the Blackheath club and played in the three English matches 
against Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. 

In course of time he was ordained, and after a couple of 
curacies married and settled down to the life of a country 
parson at Frittenden. He was not a poor man as parsons go in 
these days, and had heaps of relations among the county 
families, so that he often had some excellent shooting, and life 
was pleasant enough. Two little girls and a boy were born to the 
rector and his wife ; and he grew fond of his parishioners, while 
they likewise grew fond of him. 

Then came the catastrophe of 1914, and he preached stirring 
sermons to his villagers, bidding them do their duty like men 
and join the new armies. Then he disappeared from his parish 
and his flock heard no more of him until they received the 
following letter : 

" Dear Parishioners, 

" I think most of you will understand how I come 
to be writing from France. I have felt that in this great crisis 
of the nation's history, everyone ought to do what he can to 
help. I have said this both publicly and privately, but it has 
been hard to tell people that they ought to leave their homes 
to go out into strange and new surroundings, to endure dis- 
comforts and danger, perhaps to face death. It has been hard 
to tell people that this was their duty and then remain comfort- 
ably at home myself. So this is why I have left you for an 
indefinite period. 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 169 

" I am proud, very proud, of what Frittenden has done. I 
know how hard it has been for many of the soldiers to leave their 
homes, their families and occupations, but the harder it has been 
the greater the credit and the greater the reward. 

" I ask for your prayers. I ask you to pray that I may be 
a help to those to whom I have to minister out here. That God 
will bless and keep you all is the prayer of 

" Your affectionate rector, 

" (Signed) Rupert E. Inglis. 
" France, July 7th, 1915." 

The son of the man of Lucknow had found it impossible to 
sit at home and twiddle his thumbs. 

After this, the story of his adventures is told in his letters to 
his wife, who has had portions of them printed in the form of a 
little book, for private circulation, and dedicated to his children, 
" Joan, John, and Margaret, just to help them now, and in years 
to come, to understand a little of their father's life among our 
wonderful soldiers." 

I quote from them at some length, not because they are 
records of adventure above the average of the time, for they are 
not, but rather because they are so typical of the thousands of 
letter-histories that have been written in this war, and there is 
the same tragic family likeness running through them all. 

To begin with, there is the newness of everything at the Base ; 
then comes the excitement of joining a Brigade and becoming 
familiar with life at the actual front — a quiet part of the front at 
first. After this comes the beginning of the end, references to 
long marches across country without any mention of what lies 
ahead. I have read all this in a dozen such sequences of letters, 
and there is always the same care to conceal the fact that the 
writer is in the converging movement of troops marching into 
one of the great battle-areas, so that the anxiety of those at home 
may be lessened as much as possible. To have mentioned the 
name " Somme " would have been to chill the heart of the 
recipient, and what would have been the use of that ? The last 
letter seems to come almost automatically after that, and in 
this case it ends, " I shall probably be back early to-day. ..." 

Most of these last letters were written within the iodme and 
blood smell of the advanced dressing-stations. 

170 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

His first letter sent home after reaching France is dated — 

" July 10th, 

" No. 23 General Hospital, 

" Etaples." 

In this he says : 

" For the first time I am allowed to say where I am." He 
then goes on to explain that he is Chaplain of a hospital with 
one thousand one hundred and sixty beds, and that he had 
arrived after much travelling, at 11.30 p.m., and found no bed 
anywhere, so arranged a shake-down in an empty hut, sleeping 
in his valise on the floor, and found he possessed more bones in 
his body than he had hitherto been aware of, but did not sleep 
badly and felt rather like the street-arab whose grace after a 
small meal was, " I could have eaten more, but thank God for 
what I have had," " for I didn't think I should sleep at all." 
The letter continues, " I could write you miles, but I have 
promised to go and write letters for men in the hospital," then 
adds, " I want a gramophone and as many tunes as you can 
get for the men in hospital." 

July 12. — " I have a little office in the main tin building 
where I am now writing, and have quite a nice little wood-and- 
ean vas hut five feet by ten. I sleep on the floor in my valise 
. . . The Commanding Officer is a Colonel Harrison, who was a 
Doctor in the Guards. After to-morrow there will be only one 
other English officer here ; the rest are all Americans from 
Chicago. . . . The nurses also are Americans. 

" The objection to this place is that the camp is on sand. 
There has been a high wind and everything has just been full of 
sand, ink included. One is a long way from the war, but realises 
it more here. My hut is not fifty yards from where all Red 
Cross trains come in. Two big trains full of wounded came in 
yesterday. The men are awfully good and plucky ; some of 
Uieir wounds are awful. One boy showed me a bit of shrapnel 
nearly two inches long that had been cut out of his middle. 
Another boy had a bullet clean through his face and is not a bit 
the worse for it, no pain, and eats like a Trojan." 

July 14.—" All the appliances here are very good and up- 
to-date. We have a beautiful operating-theatre. X-ray room, 
photographic studio, etc. My postman is a Yorkshire miner. 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 171 

We spend much time together, as I am acting censor and he 
has to lick down all the letters. This morning, having got very 
intimate, we exchanged photographs of our wives and families. 
Amongst other sundries he has been blessed with two pairs of 
twins ! " 

From this I gather the exchange was hardly equal, as Mr. 
Inglis had only three bairns. 

July 17.—" Our Chapel is a perfectly bare room, or was at 
first. A trestle table is being moved in as an Altar and some 
benches by way of ecclesiastical furniture. Our services to- 
morrow are at 5.15 a.m., 6.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m., and 6 p.m. . . . 
Have just heard I am to be attached to a brigade, which is work 
I like, as it gives me a better chance of getting to know the men." 

July 18. — "I have had quite a busy Sunday. Celebrations 
at 5.15 and 6.30, and at 10.30 a service for the patients. It was 
such a nice service ; we expected thirty or forty and had only 
seats for that number, but we had one hundred and fifty patients 
and had to go about collecting seats for them, as most of them 
were not fit to stand. I started the hymns ; they went with 
great gusto. You might tell — — we shall hardly require the 
organ when I come back, as I shall be able to do it myself ! On 
second thoughts perhaps my efforts were not so successful, for 
after the service one of the nurses came and offered me twenty 
dollars towards the purchase of a harmonium. We made the 
Altar quite nice for the early Celebrations. The frontal was 
turkey-twill off a patient's screen, and the candlesticks just 
bedroom candlesticks. The flowers were Dorothy Perkins. 
They were put on the Altar by a Roman Catholic matron who 
was doing her own Altar at the other end of the room. They 
did not agree very well with the turkey-twill, but we are not 
very particular over these things here. . . . The men are so 
nice and say such funny things ; one man to-day said he was 
suffering from ' Diagnosis,' but he got better of that. . . . 

July 20. — " Yesterday they had an extraordinary opera- 
tion. They extracted a bullet from a man, and there was 
something behind it, so they went on and took out a penny 
which had been driven in by the bullet. It had saved the man's 
life, as it was pressing against an important artery which the 

172 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

bullet would otherwise have severed. There are really the 
most extraordinary wounds, it is wonderful how they ever 
recover. One man was shot in the nose, the bullet went through 
his mouth, right through the tongue, down his throat and out 
at his shoulder. The man is really quite well now and able to 

I do not think it is generally understood at home how much 
the Chaplains do besides their spiritual work. Many of them 
help to load and unload wounded men, write letters for them, 
collect the discs from the shattered fragments of those killed, 
and write the letters which carry desolation to many homes; 
arrange and form clubs for the men when resting, collect games, 
books, and amusements for them, act as mess-president, help in 
the operating-theatre, ready at all times to do anything. 

I have heard it suggested that the life of a base-camp chaplain 
is a " cushy job," but this is a mistake ; his life is by no means 
an easy one. He not only has the base-camp to attend to, 
but is at the beck and call of every hospital camp in the 
place. So surely as he tries to go into the town or to have 
a meal he is sent for to attend the sick, often being wanted in 
two places at once in opposite directions. Added to this he is 
mess-president and has to see proper delicacies are ready for 
the officers, and collect the subscriptions from each officer 
who enters the mess, though only staying a day or two. 

In the July when Mr. Inglis wrote the last letter, from 
which I have quoted, he was acting censor, and grew very weary 
of reading other people's letters. He considered the Americans 
had a very good way of expressing themselves. One favourite 
form they had of addressing their wives was, " Dear old Sport," 
and " Little Bit of Ginger." In a letter dated July 26, Mr. 
Inglis says : 

" I was very busy yesterday, and quite enjoyed myself. 
I had a variety of services and congregations : Celebrations, 
C.30 — we had all sorts ; morning service, 10.30 — all wounded ; 
morning service, 11.30 — about seven hundred soldiers, drawn 
up on an open square. I took it from a balcony, and though I 
had the wind against me, they looked as if they heard me. 
The only failure was my organist (I mean pianist) was too 
ambitious. He wanted me to sing the Venite, and it did not 

Rev. Rupert Inglis ^ 173 

go well. I and the men seemed to be singing different tunes. 
. . . The rest of the day I was kept busy censoring letters. 
I had half an hour off to meet Field-Marshal French ; he came 
to visit the hospital." 

July 28. — " An ambulance train (Princess Christian's) 
came in last night, or rather early this morning. It came the 
same time as the telegram announcing its arrival. It brought 
us one hundred patients, most of them wounded, some of them 
terribly. I have only seen the bad cases at present. I hear 
there are some West Kents in. 

" I would like to condemn the German Emperor to spend the 
rest of his life going round a hospital looking at the newly 
wounded, and to make him look at them. It is a pitiful sight, 
and with the really bad cases one can do so little for them. The 
one blessing is they are splendidly looked after, and everything 
that can be done is done. One of the surgeons has performed a 
wonderful operation. He has saved the man's life — though 
his spinal cord was almost completely severed by a bullet — but 
the man must be an invalid to the end of his life. I think I 
should have left the poor fellow alone, but everyone says it is 
marvellous. They are the saddest cases of all ; they may live 
for years and will always be paralysed. 

" The gramophone arrived this morning ; it is now in 
Ward 21, which is full of patients. You never saw anything 
like their delight with it. It really was a treat to see their 
happy faces. 

" I am writing quite early this morning ; they called me up 
about three o'clock. Another convoy had come in ; some of the 
men had been in a hospital near the front and the Germans had 
shelled it, and as far as I could make out some had been wounded 
a second time. The hospital had to be emptied." 

August 6. — " We had another convoy in last night, but 
only twenty stretcher cases. I armed myself with a big box of 
cigarettes and went to meet them. It is really wonderful how 
quickly they transfer men from the trains to the ambulance, 
and do it so smoothly. I never saw anything in the nature of a 
jolt, so the poor things are not made to suffer more than is 
absolutely necessary. They had a terrible long journey, as 
some had been in the train for twelve hours, and were just dog- 

174 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

tired ; they lay down on the platform and waited for the 
motors. The M.C.C. have sent me a splendid lot of cricket 

" I think people forget the enormous number of R.A.M.C. 
that are required to run these hospitals. We have over two 
hundred here, still forty under strength ; we have thirty-five 
doctors and seventy-five nurses." 

August 7. — " I am awfully busy, as I have such a lot of 
letters to write for other people, and such difficult letters as a 
rule. A boy who is desperately ill always tells you to write that 
he is going on splendidly. I have two of that kind waiting now. 
One of the boys I am looking after is going to be seventeen in a 
day or two. I was with him when he was having his wound 
dressed and he hung on to my hand and didn't cry, but he cried 
a bit when the others had gone and he told me he thought they 
were going to cut his leg off ; so I had to collect the doctor and 
nurses again, and they told him his leg was quite all right and 
no chance of it having to be amputated. He promptly cheered 
up and smoked a cigarette. 

" I have just had to write a long letter to the Bishop of 
Winchester, as the man who was with his son, Gilbert, when he 
was killed, was brought into this hospital. As the man had 
both his arms wounded they asked me to send all particulars. 
I heard from the brother, Neville Talbot, who is a Chaplain at 
the front. He crept out after dark and found his brother's body 
close to the German trenches." 

The Rev. Neville Talbot won the Military Cross on this 
occasion at Hooge. 

August 12. — A letter written on this date says : 
" Have you realised what to-day is ? It made me feel a 
little gun-sick, and visions of Glanwye and Carradale came up. 
Well, I suppose I shall not do any shooting this year. I shall 
not be home to shoot birds, and they won't let me shoot Germans. 
" Did I tell you a boy came in yesterday ? He will be 
fifteen next month. He has been out a long time and is now 
wounded. He does not want to go back to England, but would 
like to have another go at the Germans. I asked him how he 
got on with the hard work and carrying his pack ; he said, 
splendidly, as long as he had plenty to eat, but that he went to 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 175 

pieces whenever he was short of food, which is to be expected of 
a boy who is growing, 

" In one mental deficiency ward we have a very fine and 
large fat nurse. Yesterday one of the patients looked at her 
steadily and in astonishment for some time, and then said, 
' Am I dreaming, or do my eyes magnify ? ' " 

August 15. — " We have had a great many deaths this 
week ; there is a boy I am very fond of wounded in twenty- 
seven places, and, as so often happens, one of the wounds showed 
signs of poisoning and I am afraid he cannot live. 

" I find all the doctors and nurses very nice to me, and they 
take a lot of trouble to let me know if any of the men are very ill. 

" Besides my canteen, I have been asked to organise a large 
tea and bovril stall. All the water, fuel, and oil has to be 
carried about two and a half miles ; as everybody is very busy 
I may not be able to get a water-cart, but I am going to try. 

" I am rather like you knitting in a game of bridge, for I am 
writing in the middle of a game of picquet, while my opponent 
is discussing military matters. 

" This morning ' Sigs ' ^ and I climbed up in the church 
tower, from which we got quite a good view of the surrounding 
country and could look into the German trenches. We then 
explored the bottom of the church. When we first came to the 
village (which we have now left) someone hit a stone near the 
door and it sounded hollow, so they pulled it up and found a 
passage going down about two hundred feet, winding round and 
round. The air was very foul ; they could not get in for some 
time, but now it is all right. At the bottom of the two hundred 
feet there are a lot of biggish caves, large enough to hold a 
battalion. It is now used as a dug-out if the village is being 

" Our mess is a public-house in the main road, and it is quite 
as noisy as Piccadilly at its worst." 

August 19. — " That nice boy I told you about died. 
Another boy, Crutchfield, is a little better to-day ; he is only 
sixteen. I was in his ward as the doctor was going to dress his 
wounds. He asked me to stay with him, and as the doctor had 
no objection I did ; it took just one hour and five minutes. How 

1 Signalling officer. 

176 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

the boy has lived I don't know. The doctor said he was 
wounded in at least fifty places, most of course small, but some 
quite big. The lad hung on to my hand and he just moaned 
now and then, but it must have hurt him very much. I should 
have been glad to cry for him. . . . The boy Crutchfield is better. 
Yesterday I promised he should have an apple, and sent down 
to the store for it. When I got in this morning I found he had 
never received it, as the supply was run out. He quietly 
insisted that I should fulfil my contract, much to the amusement 
of the other boys in the ward. I had to tramp into Staples 
myself to get it, as the men are not allowed in the town owing to 
an epidemic of measles. 

" We had another convoy in last night. All our Tommies 
speak in a very kindly way of the Saxons. We have a wonder- 
ful man among our patients, a Corporal in R.F.A. — name Gore 
Brown ; his mother is a Russian Princess. He speaks in twenty- 
three different languages and writes fourteen of them. He has 
fought in every war of modern times — was a Major in the 
Japanese Army. Until he became a private in the British 
Army he was Commander-in-Chief of Madero's forces in Mexico. 
He was at Eton, and has a wonderful gift of speaking. 

" In the field ambulance last night I saw men suffering from 
shell-shock ; they were quite unconscious, but I was told they 
would recover. They belonged to a battery that had been 
heavily shelled all day. One hundred and eighty shells had 
been thrown at it, but they did not have a single casualty." 

September 1.—" It is a horrible day, blowing and rainy, 
but not enough rain to stop the sand flying, and my eyes, 
nose and mouth are clogged with it. They say the sand is 
encroaching terribly in this country, and I certainly believe that 
if the hospital were left alone for a year it would disappear 
under the sand. 

" The nurse asked me to go round while Crutchfield was 
having his wounds dressed this morning. The boy insisted on 
my making a minute examination of each wound and reporting 
on it. They are awful, but I really think they do look better. 
There is still a chance he may have to lose his arm, and I doubt 
if he could stand that. 

" The dear old Colonel has just been in to help me finish the 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 177 

letters. The American letters are generally full of praise of 

" The doctors and nurses quarrel a good deal. I suppose it 
is natural, as we are all sorts on board ship together ; but I 
have never found anything but praise of the British Government, 
British Tommy, and British Staff." 

September 17. — " I have just received my marching orders, 
and am off on Monday to 21 Casualty Clearing Station. I have 
not the remotest idea where it is, so cannot tell you, and if I did 
know should not be allowed to. 

" I am glad to say nearly everything has come for my 
Chapel, and I shall leave it looking quite nice. Thanks to you, 
all the hospital is splendidly set up with everything for the 
patients. I shall leave a great many books, games, sweets, 
etc., for my successor." 

Scptemhcr 21, CCS. — " This Casualty Clearing Station is 
a great deal rougher than what I have been accustomed to at 
the Base. It is quite unavoidable. We have to keep near the 
firing-line, and if the line moves we should move with it, so we 
can't be cumbered with much stuff. Sometimes if there is a 
train we only keep the wounded long enough to have the wounds 
dressed — the great majority stay from twelve to thirty-six 
hours. As a rule the Casualty Clearing Stations are in tents. 
We are fortunate in having the greater part of ours in an old 
bicycle-factory. It all looks very uncomfortable after the 
beautiful beds and clean sheets of a Base hospital, but all who 
come m seem to think it very luxurious. We may be called on 
to deal with six hundred cases : if that happens it will mean 
day and night work for all of us. I went to the operating- 
theatre and saw two operations which were not very serious 
ones. I thought I had better accustom myself to this sort of 
thing. I have spent most of the day in hospital, and have done 
a good deal of letter-writing. The patients are almost all on 
stretchers on the ground ; they are very close together, and of 
course one can never get to know them. Still, one can do a 
bit for them. 

" We have a wonderful scratch pack for a mess : the 
Colonel an Irishman, one doctor a West Indian, one a Canadian, 
one an Australian, the French Interpreter, and myself ; two 


178 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

others I think are Enghsh. A pretty good variety for a small 

" I saw the Matron to-day and asked her what was wanted ; 
she said bed-socks. The hospital is very draughty, so you 
might set to work on these. 

" I am living in a very comfortable farmhouse ; there is a 
Gloire de Dijon just opposite my room and a covey of partridges 
in a field between us and the hospital. I have put it up twice." 

It is quite astonishing how little birds and some of the 
smaller animals are upset by the appalling hurly-burly of 
battlefields. A relation of mine, writing from the front, says : 
" Even my dug-out is being utilised in the great scheme of 
things, for there are families of mice working out their destinies 
in the confusion of straw and pack forming the roof. As I lie 
on my back at night I can see papa and mamma move, hurrying 
to and fro across the beams, twiddling their tails to maintain 
their equipoise after fearless excursions among my rations in the 
corner. I can hear the angry squeaks of combat among the 
gallants, and domestic twitterings from a very young family of 
mice in the innermost sanctuaries of the straw. I am much 
impressed by my family of mice amid all this banging and 
counter-banging ; they make me wonder why people want 
gilded domes and pealing organs to make them realise the 
majesty of things in general, when they are to be found so close 
under one's own nose." 

The same relation told me he had seen a chaffinch singing 
on the wounded branch of a wrecked tree, and a shot coming in 
that direction carried the branch away ; nothing daunted, the 
little songster mounted on to a twig higher up and continued its 
love-song. It evidently had no intention of being put out by 

Late in September, 1915, Mr. Inglis saw for the first time 
three large ambulance barges drawn by a small steam -tug ; he 
thought they looked very comfortable. 

They are on all the rivers in France now. 

It was at this time Mr. Inglis was asked by his Bishop if he 
would like to return to 23 General Hospital as permanent 
Chaplain until the end of the war. He declined this offer, for 
although he had been very happy there, he felt he would rather 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 179 

take his turn with all the other Chaplains, the usual arrange- 
ment being two or three months in front, and two or three 
months with a brigade, and then back to a base hospital, and 
so on. 

Another letter of his says : 

September 24.—" We had a lot of bad cases in yesterday 
and everyone was very busy, so I was able to make myself useful. 
We sent out one hundred and forty-six patients, and there was 
an awful rush. 1 gave quite a lot of them their dinner and 
helped to dress them. I got quite cute at putting on their 
socks. One man I gave all his dinner from a spoon, and in the 
intervals of feeding we discussed the shooting at Faccombe, as 
he always used to go out beating there." 

September 26. — " I started the day with a Celebration in 
the attic at 6.45. It was very nice — a huge room with rafters 
and a peaked roof. To my surprise sixteen Tommies and a 
nurse came to the service, but there were about fifty Tommies 
iynig on stretchers round the room. They were as quiet as mice. 
At ten o'clock we had Matins in the same room. I was amused 
to see how many of the stretcher cases could raise up when I 
started ' God save the King.' " 

On October 2, two friends had been accepting Mr. Inglis's 
hospitality while on their way back to billets, and the Padre 
had fed them on tinned herrings and tea, followed by a tub 
in his big bath. Describing this occasion in a letter home, he 
says, " The tragedy is, they have used my only two clean 
towels ! " 

This good Padre certainly did not spare himself; the 
following is an account of one Sabbath day's work. 

October 4. — " It is 10 p.m. I have just got in from my 
last service. There has been variety in the places where I have 
held services to-day. I started in one attic at 6.45. I had the 
next Celebration at the hospital at 7.45. The Altar was the 
magistrate's desk. The next service was in the attic, and the 
fourth back at the police-court. At 4.45 I motored some miles 
to headquarters for a service at 5.15, which was held in a wine- 
shop. We had to be out of it by 5.45, as the shop began business 
at that hour. I then motored another four miles, when I was 
met by the Flying Corps motor and taken another twelve or 

i8o Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

fourteen miles to the aerodrome, where we had a service in a 
very large barn. We stood throughout the service among the 
straw. There was just one bright light in the centre and the 
rest of the place all dim. They were such a nice lot of fellows. 

" I have been invited to go and look at the German trenches 
from an aeroplane. 

" Eight o'clock.— We had about forty-eight patients in 
to-day. An aerial torpedo exploded in a dug-out ; there were 
thirty men in it — eight were killed and all the rest were burnt, 
mostly in the face and hands. They were an awful sight coming 
in. The shell evidently contained Hquid fire. One or two will 
probably lose an eye. I went into the operating-room while one 
was having his face dressed. They were very helpless, only 
their eyes and mouth could be seen. I and a nurse fed ten of 
them ; beef-tea and milk had to be poured down their throats." 

Mr. Inglis now got leave and went home for a few days, 
arriving in London about November 16, and returning on the 
24th, and in a letter home says : 

" I found everything much easier after the splendid week at 
home. This afternoon I was making arrangements about the 
recreation-room. We hope to open it next Thursday. All the 
games from Harrods' have arrived. We have got a piano, 
quite a good one. I am going to interview a General about 
supplying us with chairs and tables, and another at headquarters 
about coal and lights. Then I shall go into Amiens and buy 
cups and kettles. It is rather a business, and two of the 
chaplains who have helped me are gone away." 

November 29. — " Gordon Geddes called for me at 10 
o'clock this morning and I had a most interesting time with 
him. We visited several batteries, inspected dug-outs, and 
went to an artillery observation-point from which we could see 
the German trenches. In fact, we looked right into them and 
could see the French shells bursting round and about the 

December 3.—" I went into Corbie to-day to get the club 
into order. Things were quite upsetting. In the first room 
the stove smoked so badly we had to let it out, then the windows, 
which ought to have been mended last week, were not mended, 

Rev. Rupert Inglis i8i 

and the mantles for the gas which ought to have arrived last 
week had not done so. In the course of the day things got 
more straightened out, and we had a big crowd this evening." 

December 5. — " I received my marching orders to-day and 
am off to-morrow. I should very much like to have gone all 
round this front with Gordon Geddes. He has been most 
awfully kind to me. It is the sort of opportunity I shan't be 
likely to get again. It is a pity I can't tell you straight for- 
wardly all about things." 

December 13. — " No news as to my movements yet. 
Yesterday was lovely. I went for a twenty-mile walk. While 
lunching I was patted on the back by Eric Thesiger. It is very 
nice meeting people out here. I had a very disturbed night, as 
the bed was only five feet six inches, which made it difficult for 
me to fit in. Then a battery of artillery lost its way in the 
dark and one of the riders came and knocked at my window 
to see if I could help — and I could. Then a rat came and gnawed 
over my head for the rest of the night. I talked to it violently 
several times, but it never stopped. My billet is in a very old 
house attached to a mill, and is full of rats. I am feeling very 
dirty. I haven't had a bath for nearly a week, and I haven't 
had a change of clothes since I don't know when." 

December 31. — " Just at present they are leaving the 
troops here such a very short time that it is difficult to do 
anything for them. They are in one day and out the next. 
This is New Year's Eve. I don't know why, but I have felt 
more hopeful of things lately, though I am not expecting an 
immediate return to my cabbage-patch — wish I did. We are 
all very sick of the war, but I believe it's nothing compared with 
the German sickness of it. This year they are getting all that 
they give and a little more, and it makes a vast difference to 
last year, when they gave us ten times as much as they got." 

January 2, 1917. — " This place is thick with generals. 
One said to me, ' By the end of the year we should have a very 
decent army, and it ought to be able to finish the war by the 
end of 1917.' It's a long way ahead, and I hope for better 
things, but still one can't tell." 

January 6. — ^" This is a great day. I have had a bath. 

1 82 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

I had my tea for the band this evening. We managed to get a 
certain number of spoons and forks together, and had a hot 
supper. Pork and beef were the piices de resistance. They 
gave me a huge helping, about as much as I usually eat in a 
week. I had to say I dined in the middle of the day and hardly 
ate anything at night. They took away about half. It was 
very highly seasoned. The light was bad, and the first thing I 
put into my mouth was a large bit of pork fat ! I wished I had 
never been born ! We also had cheese-cakes and peaches. 

"The beautiful , boots have arrived. It seems wicked to 
put them on to walk straight into a foot of mud. My old 
Norwegian boots are nearly gone." 

January 22.^" I did not get home till twelve last night. 
When I got to the Field Ambulance a man was just going to 
have a biggish bit of shrapnel taken out of his leg. It was not 
far in, so he did not have an anaesthetic. It must have hurt him 
sadly, but I talked as hard as I could to keep his mind off it. 
He bore it very well. It was the third time he had been 
wounded. One poor boy died just as he was brought in, and 
the man who was carrying him out of the trenches had a nasty 
wound in his back. Though it touched the spine I think he will 
get all right, but he was in a good deal of pain, so I sat up with 
him until he was more comfortable, and left him smoking. He 
was a Yorkshire man and told me he was married when only 

February 14. — " I had a baddish night at the Field Ambu- 
lance last night. It is rather trying, but it is nice to think one 
is a little bit useful. I don't suppose now that I have started I 
shall let anyone else do it. I have been over to my service at 
the anti-aircraft. They sent me home in their car. They do 
drive fast in the dark with no lights. I don't mind the ordinary 
risks of a campaign, but I don't like taking extra ones. When 
I came down from this place one of the boys said to the driver, 
' Now see how fast you can go.' Little beast ! " 

February 26. — " My Field Ambulance is on the main road 
between two towns. Of course none of the cases are kept very 
long, not more than twelve hours, as a Field Ambulance must be 
kept as empty as possible. It is a long wooden building divided 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 183 

into three parts. The first is the office where men who are not 
very bad give their names, number, regiment, etc. The next 
part is the ward. We have no beds. All the patients are on 
stretchers on the floor. The third division is what they call the 
theatre, where men have their wounds dressed and attended 
to, and an immediate operation if necessary. I generally see 
first that all the men in the ward have something to smoke, but 
I spend most of my time in the theatre. Our best surgeon is a 
very nice Irishman and he always takes the worst cases, and I 
sort of work with him. The men have generally had morphia 
given to them, but they do not often give an anaesthetic in a 
F.A., so it is often very painful for the poor chaps having their 
wounds attended to. A man often suffers a lot anticipating he 
is going to be hurt, and by talking to him and interesting him 
you can often take his mind off — about all sorts of things, cricket, 
football, boxing. The other day we had a Welshman who had 
some very painful wounds. As a rule Welshmen do not stand 
pain very well, but this man was very keen on football, so we 
carried on a violent discussion about football and he got through 
splendidly, and I went on to another man. When the doctor 
found there was something more to do to the Welshman, he 
came over to me and said, ' Come along, my local anaesthetic, 
I want you to talk some more football.' " 

March 1. — " This is an advanced dressing-station of the 
Field Ambulance. I have lately seen what I have often heard 
of but never before seen, viz., a man's life being saved by a 
New Testament in his pocket. That and a new service-book 
were right over his heart. It cut out a bit of the cover of the 
book exactly its own shape and size, and then made an awful 
mess of the inside of the book, but did not go through it." 

March 8. — " It must have snowed pretty well all the night. 
We have a funny little home here (on the canal bank near St. 
Jean). It is just a nice little tunnel about eighteen feet long and 
eight wide. We get light and air through the door, and we have 
a stove at the other end. Our beds are right and left of the 
stove. Our beds are stretchers. They do for seats in the 
daytime. We have a very good armchair, which is loot from 
somewhere, two tables and several other chairs. Our wash- 
stand is a chair, and we are really very comfortable. The 

184 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

drawback is we are either too hot or too cold. When the fire 
is going it is hke an oven, and when it is out it is hke an ice- 
house. You can't do a great deal of work here. It is really a 
sort of rest-cure." 

March 10. — " Our dug-out is at the end of about a mile of 
dug-outs. Outside there is a duck-walk and then water, so 
everyone passes within six feet of our door, and a great many 
look in and pass the time of day. I saw an air-fight quite close 
which I am sorry to say ended unfavourably for us. They can't 
all end well, I suppose. Our man manoeuvred very well, but 
he had a faster machine against him." 

March 14. — " We hand over this dug-out in the morning. 
I shan't be sorry to have a bath. We are not allowed to take 
our clothes off up here, and I have not had mine off for over a 
week. One really gets used to anything. It is rather nice to 
get out of bed, shake yourself like a dog, and go out. My hair 
feels awfully funny, just like pigs' bristles. The Colonel is very 
keen — and rightly so — on the men and the officers having their 
hair cut with clippers, so I have fallen into line. It feels very 
nice and cool." 

March 19. — " General Sir H. Plumer came over to-day to 
attend the Parade Service, and wished all units to be there . . . 
about two thousand men in the open. The band has not come 
here, and all I could raise was a piano, and the music was a 
distinct failure. The distance was too great. Two thousand 
men in a square take a lot of room, and you can't keep the 
singing together. I quite enjoy camp-life, and we are really and 
truly a very happy family. The tent here is a Y.M.C.A. There 
are two ladies, and a certain number of men, civilians, whom I 
don't like seeing here. Some of them look as if they might be 
doing other things. They say they have all been passed as 

April 17. — " One of the mess sergeants brought in some 
papers last night. The Colonel asked who they were for. 
' They are all the Rector's,' said the man, so apparently that is 
my name among the Tommies. . . . 

" My beautiful long boots were hanging up outside the 
dug-out to-day and they were completely spoilt by a piece of 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 185 

shell, which went through them both. They were wounded in 
six places." 

Easter Day. — " It is two days since I wrote. I could not 
finish it on Good Friday night, as while I was writing it a tre- 
mendous bombardment was going on, and I knew the battalion 
I am with was in it and I could not collect my thoughts. In the 
evening the battalion went out, and I went to the dressing- 
station. It was a perfectly awful night." 

Ajoril 24. — " It seems that the battalion has done very 
well indeed, and in spite of the awful conditions has done 
almost all if not more than they were sent out to do. They 
have been tremendously complimented, but I hear the Colonel 
is dangerously wounded. One of the officers killed was Jumbo 
Johnson (author of ' At the Front ' weekly in Punch) ; such a 
good chap and just engaged to be married. From what they 
said to me when they bid me good-bye, I think the Colonel and 
Johnson had a presentiment that they would not come back. 
. . . While I was at the dressing-station the faithful Williams 
found me out and brought tea in a thermos, which was much 
appreciated by the wounded. They were in an awful state, wet 
through and muddy from head to foot. One of the battalion was 
found dead smothered in the mud. One officer, a nice boy, lay in a 
shell-hole with a broken leg from Friday night to Saturday night. 
He was then found, and it took eight men to carry him. The 
mud was so awful they could not get him out before it was light, 
so they had to leave him in the trench, and he stayed there all 
Sunday. They got him out on Sunday night. It has been 
rather a strenuous time, but it has only been a small affair as 
things go nowadays." 

Later. — " Had to leave this and go and take some funerals. 
I looked in at the dressing-station. There was a boy there 
brought in this morning. He had been buried in a dug-out in 
the trenches for six days. He had nothing to eat and only a 
little water to drink. He was not wounded, and when I saw him 
two or three hours after he had been brought in he really was 
extraordinarily well. He had only been allowed a little food. 
It would not have been safe to give him much. He had his first 
cigarette while I was there. 

" Another man was brought in last night who had been 

1 86 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

wounded, but not badly, and could have walked back, only he 
was embedded in a shell-hole, and they had the greatest difficulty 
in getting him out." 

The account of this " little affair as things go nowadays " 
was given by that gifted writer, Mr. Philip Gibbs, in the Daily 
Telegraph soon after the occurrence, and is worth quoting, 
giving, as it does, a clear idea of what a " little affair " means. 
It explains fully why Mr. Inglis, the Padre, could not collect 
his thoughts to write letters while his boys were in the throes of 


By Philip Gibbs 

" The King's Shropshire Light Infantry have the names of 
many great battles on their colours, as those of Nieuport and 
Salamanca, and the Shropshire lads, country born and bred, who 
h.ave followed the plough down the big brown furrows of our 
great English soil have fought on many fields of Europe before 
tliis war. The old stock has not weakened. A few days ago, 
on the night of April 21st, they proved themselves again to have 
very stout hearts and steady nerves, not afraid of obstacles 
which would have spoilt the fighting spirit of men less brave. 

" It was not a great action in which they were engaged, 
nothing more than the retaking of a captured trench, and in 
this war such incidents will hardly find a record. But the 
marvel of it was first the courage of the men, a courage that 
made them stick to a job almost hopeless in its difficulties and 
carry it through to success by sheer will-power. Imagine what 
it was like to assault that position which had been taken from 
us by the enemy on April 19th along the Ypres-Langemarck 
road. When the Shropshires left their own trenches in the night 
there was a heavy downpour of rain and they had in front of 
them a great quagmire, through which they would have to wade 
in order to reach the enemy's wire. 

" The ground had been churned up by shell-fire. High 
explosives had dug out craters everywhere, very deep and filled 
with mud and water. Old communication trenches had been 
smashed up and become a welter of earth with rain-filled gullies. 

Rev. Rupert Inglls 187 

The day of storm had flooded all this bit of country and made 
the soil beneath a soft bog, in which men sank here and there 
actually up to their armpits. Well might their hearts have 
sunk when they began to flounder in this Slough of Despond in 
front of the enemy's guns. But the Shropshire lads struggled 
on. To prevent themselves from sinking they lay flat on the 
maid and pushed themselves along with hands and knees, 
throwing their rifles in front as they gained each yard, or using 
them as poles to support them in the slime. A few fell into 
shefl-craters and were drowned. Some were so caught and 
stuck by the mud that they could not get free or move a yard. 
Tlie assaulting companies all struggling like this lost touch with 
one another in the darkness, but pressed forward independently 
to their objectives. The men on the right, or as many as could 
keep together, rushed the enemy's trenches at about half-past 
one in the morning, and took possession of a portion of it in spite 
of heavy rifle, grenade, and machine-gun fire from the enemy's 
support trenches. Bombing parties worked up further and 
established posts, but could find no sign of the men who had 
advanced with them on the left. At first it seemed as if the 
men here were alone in the enemy's lines, but later cheering was 
heard, which showed that the centre of the assault had reached 
the goal through the quagmire behind. Those Shropshire lads 
in the centre had been through fire and water. As soon as they 
left their position they became exposed to a hail of rifle bullets, 
and their Captain fell wounded. Several men dropped. Through 
the darkness came cries for help from men up to their waists in 
shell-craters and badly hurt. But the others pressed on and 
jumped into the trench. A few Germans attempted resistance 
and were bayoneted or shot, and others fled. 

" The place was hardly a trench. It had been shefled out of 
all shape, but very coolly and methodically the Shropshires 
began to consolidate the shell-holes, and succeeded in building 
some cover and digging in before the first gleam of dawn came 
across the flood. A young officer with one Lewis gun and a 
party of men attacked a point still held by the enemy and took 
it without loss, having kifled all the Germans. At 5 a.m., 
when the sky was lightening and there was a twitter of birds in 
spite of all the guns, the enemy massed for a counter-attack by 
a ruined cottage behind our old trench, which was now back in 

1 88 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

our hands, but when they advanced a quarter of an hour later 
they were caught under the fire of our rifles and machine-guns 
and broke. On the way back they suffered heavily in the bar- 
rage of our artillery. In this early hour of a new day about 
thirty Germans with a machine-gun were seen in a trench to the 
right, and a party of Shropshires organised a bombing attack 
and drove them out towards the ruins of a little ' estaminet ' 
or inn on the right of the position. Here they were raked by the 
rifle-fire of the company facing that point, and few of them 
reached their own lines. The machine-gun is now a trophy of 
the Shropshires, with another taken in a sap later in the day. 
The men who attacked on the left had similar adventures at 
first in the flood, and then through sharp bursts of rifle-fire 
and in the recaptured trench, where they killed some of the 
enemy, and chased out about thirty more. The Germans' 
counter-attack at dawn arrived within about thirty yards of 
this position, but it seemed disorganised and was quickly 
repulsed. The Shropshires gained and held the lost line. 

" This is the general narrative of the action, but individual 
acts of courage and self-sacrifice come very clear and shining out 
of that night of darkness when masses of men struggled through 
a bog to another quagmire. There was a lance-corporal who 
was shot badly in the shoulder, but toiled under heavy fire to 
bring back a wounded comrade to safety. It took some hours 
to cover that six hundred yards with the stricken man. Another 
Shropshire lad held an isolated sap single-handed, and armed 
with bombs, against the German counter-attacks. One of these 
country boys was severely wounded in the first assault, but 
crawled into the German trench and stayed there for thirty-six 
hours, during which he helped to repulse two counter-attacks. 
One of the Shropshire officers led his men to the assault while one 
of his arms was hanging by a thread after a piece of shrapnel had 
struck him. A private in the Army Medical Corps organised 
rescue-parties for the wounded who lay out in the open under 
heavy shell-fire, and though hit in the head by a shell splinter 
or shrapnel bullet, continued his work and helped to save about 
fifty men. A sergeant went back twice for support over open 
ground which was being fiercely shelled, and though he sank up 
to his armpits in the bog, struggled out and fulfilled his task. 
Another sergeant worked for two hours in the zone of fire, 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 189 

digging out men who had fallen and were too weak to rise. 

" The Colonel of the Battalion was killed by a shell splinter 
towards the end of the assault, and before he had the happiness 
of knowing that his Shropshires had gained the day. The 
officer who then took command was, he tells me, ' born in the 
regiment,' which was commanded by his father before him in 
years gone by. 

"It is a long way from Flanders to that little county of 
Shropshire, where the orchards must be white with blossom now, 
but not too far, I think, for the story I have told to thrill many 
hearts in the old farmsteads there. The Shropshire lads have 
done well, and England will be proud of them for that night's 

Writing after this splendid work of the Shropshires, Mr. 
Inglis says : 

" On Sunday I had to wake the doctor. He had been two 
days and nights without sleep. I had the greatest difficulty in 
waking him at all, but at last he sat up and talked to me for 
at least twenty minutes and told me everything. 

" A few days later, when meeting the same doctor, he began 
to tell some of his experiences all over again, not having the 
faintest recollection of ever having mentioned the subject 

This is by no means uncommon when individuals have 
been through great mental strain. 

Writing of the Colonel's death he says, " I went to see 
Luard. He was not conscious. A telegram came later to say 
he was dead. He is to have a military funeral and I am taking 
it to-morrow. He zvas a good chap. . . ." 

After the funeral was over he writes of it, saying, " It was 
a beautiful day. The officers and one hundred and fifty men 
went in lorries to the cemetery for the Colonel's funeral. It was 
an impressive service. Our cemetery is beautifully looked 
after, and is just a mass of daffodils now. At the end of the 
service it has always been the custom to sound the bugles. I 
asked that we might have the Reveille sounded after the Last 
Post, and Murray agreed. It was suggested to me by the 
Brigadier, and it is such a nice idea that I thought it was worth 

I go Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

April 27. — " It is very interesting here ; one hears a good 
deal of information first-hand, but I am afraid it does not make 
my letters more interesting, as I cannot pass the information on. 
One thing I have learnt from personal knowledge, and that is 
that the German communiques are guilty of direct lying. 

" Just been interrupted by ' Sigs ' (the signalling officer), 
a nice boy who looks about fifteen. He wanted me to go out 
and hear the cuckoo ; it is the first time I have heard it this 
year. I also saw my first pair of swallows to-day." 

April 28. — " I don't think I have any news for you, as one 
does much the same thing every day ; the only variety comes 
from the way in which the enemy behaves. For example, this 
morning he amused himself by throwing gas-shells over us for 
about an hour. They have a nasty sickly smell and rather 
spoilt the taste of my breakfast ; it is extraordinary, consider- 
ing the amount of stuff they throw, how little damage they do. 
They tell me the shells that are being thrown over are pretty 
bad ones (I mean badly made), and there was not a heavy 
charge in them. 

" We give him more stuff here than he gives us — bigger 
stuff and better stuff. They say our shrapnel is infinitely 
superior and does more damage, which I can quite believe. 
Last night they were sending over quite a lot of shrapnel and 
it was all of it bursting about a hundred yards up, which is, of 
course, no good at all. 

"It is a lovely evening and there are a good number of 
aeroplanes about of all sorts. I certainly think the German 
aeroplane does not have nearly as much his own way as he did 
when I was up before, which is satisfactory." 

May 6. — " We are near my old hut in the wood. This 
morning I sent Williams over to get a change of clothes from it. 
It seems that two days ago two shells dropped close to it and 
all the inhabitants fled. They apparently managed to get all 
their own things away, but they left mine. Reed's, and others'. 
The Belgians broke in and stole the lot. I was a little bit 
cross — all my spare clothes have gone ; I have only got the shirt 
and pants that I stand up in." 

Happily a little leave home at this time enabled Mr. Inglis 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 191 

to replenish his wardrobe. On his return to duty he resumes 
his letters. 

May 23. — " This morning I wrote some letters and went 
to see Reed, who lives about ten minutes from here. It took 
just two hours to get there, as I met so many friends on the 
road. It is like going round Lord's on an Oxford and Cambridge 

May 27. — " I have been out almost all day. I met 
Colonel Gathorne Hardy this morning, the one in the Guards ; 
he was in charge of rather an exalted person who looked a per- 
fect child. [The Prince of Wales. — Author.] Everyone is agreed 
that he ought not to be allowed up here. He has gone now." 

June 14. — " This is rotten weather, it has hardly stopped 
raining for the last twenty hours. 

" I went down to the Chateau to see Murray and the K. S.L.I. 
They were all looking very weary, having been heavily shelled 
all night. I only stayed at the dressing-station till about 
twelve, and on my way home got pretty well wet through. As 
I slushed through the mud I thought how nice a ' flea-bag ' 
would be, but when I reached my dug-out I found ' Sigs ' 
juggling with two basins trying to catch all the water that was 
pouring into my bed. He caught most of it, but not all. I 
managed to find some dry spots and emptied the basins, re- 
arranging them so as to catch the water. On a small bunk I 
and the two basins made rather a full house, but I managed to 
sleep and, strange to say, did not upset the basins." 

June 19. — " I was shown to-day a very interesting docu- 
ment which was taken off a wounded German one day this week. 
It was a German General's order. It began by saying their 
losses had been very heavy in taking certain trenches. It went 
on to say that these trenches were very important and must be 
held at all costs (those trenches have now been taken back by 
us) ; then it went on to say that all English equipment was 
to be very carefully collected : boots, leather belts, etc. It 
specially mentioned, further on, that the English dead were to 
be stripped of their boots, and all woollen garments, as these, it 
said, ' are essential to our success.' It rather looks as if there 
was some shortage." 

192 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

July 27. — ^" I am sending off to-day a skull-cap, and I want 
two or three hundred to start with. They are for the Buffs ; 
they go inside the steel helmet and make it quite comfortable, 
and, to speak plainly, absorb the sweat. 

" The rats are terribly noisy again to-night." 

The dug-out in the Ypres salient is now left behind and they 
are on the march— towards the great struggle on the Somme, but 
Mr. Inglis does not say so ; there are merely repeated references 
to being on the march. 

July 31. — " I think I shall probably send a bag of things 
home, as we shall be travelling light for a time." 

August 5. — " We had another move yesterday, only about 
six miles. I started off a little after nine with a limber and two 
men for the canteen. I have got a small brigade canteen 
running. My shop is set up under a tree in an orchard. It is 
rather difficult to manage these things when you are never more 
than forty-eight hours in the same place, but they all make it as 
easy as possible, and it is a great boon to the men." 

August 11. — " We could do with a great many more skull- 
caps ; the number I could do with now is one thousand five 
hundred. We had our service right by the guns in case they 
were ordered to fire." 

After this the letters got very hurried, as they are evidently 
in the thick of it. One of the new trenches dug in the battlefield 
was christened the ' Rector trench,' in honour of Mr. Inglis, 
who Avas known amongst the officers and men as the ' Rector.' 
Referring to this with evident satisfaction in a letter, he says, 
" I have been shown the Rector trench on the map ; it goes right 
up to the German lines." 

All were roughing it now, and the Padre was sleeping under 
the stars, and learnt the useful trick of scratching a hole in the 
ground for his hip-bone to rest in, which is familiar to every 
soldier and most sporting folk whose journey ings carry them 
far afield. 

September 12. — " It mercifully did not rain last night ; 
though the ground was rather bumpy I slept very well. It's 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 193 

just splendid the way our guns keep going. It is just a roar 
all the time." 

September 14. — " I think it is quite possible you may get 
this letter late and may have to wait a long time for others." 

September 16.—" I was up yesterday morning at 5 and 
on the move by 5.45. I had a two hours' walk, and took 
up my abode in a crater of a German mine where we had a 
very rough dressing-station ; we were very busy. It was awful 
getting the wounded down, over a very rough country full of 
shell-holes. Some of the men must have been four or five hours 
on the journey. We had at least ten men hit while bringing 
them down, and that means pain for the wounded they are 

September 17. — " This is Sunday, I believe, but I have not 
realised it at all and have no services, have arranged none. We 
are trying to clear the battlefield. Being very antique, I always 
have a soft job. Ingram (a doctor) was collecting with the 
stretcher-bearers and bringing the wounded to me. I was in 
charge of the stretcher-bearers from K. S.L.I, headquarters to 
the dressing-station. We had rather a disastrous evening. I 
got two lots down and was back in the King's Shropshire Light 
Infantry headquarters by ten o'clock. Ingram had just gone 
off again, leaving word I was to keep all his stretcher-bearers 
who came in till he returned. 

" About 10.45 the Corporal with his party came and reported 
that Ingram had crawled off by himself and had not returned. 
Murray sent off an officer and one man, also Ingram's Corporal, 
to see if they could find out anything. They got right up to the 
German lines and could see the enemy, and they are rather 
afraid that in the dark Ingram went right into the German lines. 
I do hope he is all right and at worst a prisoner. He is such a 
good chap ; many have got the V.C. for a great deal less than 
he has done. 

" I did not get back till 6.30 this morning. I had a good 
three hours' sleep. In a few minutes will be off to the dressing- 
station. I shall probably be back early to-day." 

These were the last words he wrote. He died in No-Man's- 


194 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Land while rescuing the wounded, amongst whom he probably 
hoped to find his friend, Ingram. 

In the inevitable confusion of so great a battle it was difficult 
to find out exactly what had happened. Rumours that a 
Padre had been killed came through the brigade headquarters, 
and the Reverend Neville Talbot, S.C.F., did all he could to find 
out the facts. On Wednesday, September 20, he wrote to 
Mrs. Inglis, giving her the full story as follows : 

Wednesday, September 20, 1916. — " On Monday afternoon 
about 3.15, whiflst searching for wounded who had been lying out 
for several days, he was hit by a shell and killed instantly. You 
would have heard before had the brigade to which he was 
attached clearly known what had become of him, but while his 
brigade (and division) has been in the big fight he has been 
acting rather as a free lance . . . making his quarters back at 
the transport lines and going up for longish spells to help with 
the wounded at the advanced dressing-station near the lines. 
Our attack, which his brigade and others in the division made last 
Friday, was unsuccessful, with the result that at nightfall our 
line was behind the ground over which the troops had tried to 
advance. This meant that many wounded had to be left out 
— some of them, at any rate — until Monday morning, when the 
ground was won by a successful attack. 

" I think your husband joined in efforts that were made 
previous to the successful attack to rescue the wounded by night. 
Others will, I hope, tell you about that. What I do know is 
that on Monday he joined a party of stretcher-bearers under 
Captain Moir, R.A.M.C, which went out after the successful 
attack and therefore behind our front line, to search for 

" I will ask Captain Moir to write to you himself. He got 
his leg torn by barbed wire and came down through my dressing- 
station (some five or six miles back) and asked me if I knew 
anything about your husband. It seems that Moir and he got 
separated ; the former lost his way and never rejoined your 

What had happened was this : Mr. Inglis, unknown to the 
headquarters, had joined a party of stretcher-bearers headed by 
Capt. Moir, from whom he got separated, but met and fell in 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 195 

with another party which had been sent out by the Sherwood 
Foresters under Lieutenant Mellor. Mr. Inghs having located 
some wounded, asked this party to come and fetch them in ; 
whilst they were doing this, shelling began again and Mr. Inglis 
was hit in the leg. He, Mellor, and a stretcher-bearer named 
Stretton, of the Sherwood Foresters, got into a shell-hole, and 
the latter began to bandage the wound, when another shell 
landed in the shell-hole, killing Mr. Inglis and Stretton, and 
dangerously wounding Mellor, who died two days later. 

Sergeant Rogers, who was with Mellor's party, was able 
to give this accurate account ; he had hidden in another shell- 
hole and at once went to see what had happened, and found that 
without doubt the brave Padre had been instantaneously killed. 
Rogers, who was in the Sherwood Foresters, has since been 
killed in action. 

In a letter from Mr. Talbot he says : 

" I have got the spot marked on the map and have reported 
it to the brigade. A big burial party was at work all over the 
ground last night ; I think it is fairly certain they will have 
carried out the burial. If there is any doubt I and the brigade 
staff will not rest till we have seen to the burial. It is not an 
easy place to get to, as it is often shelled, but it shall be managed. 

" I cannot overstate the sorrow there is to-day in the 
brigade ; they simply loved him, so said several officers and men 
in the Shropshires to me to-day. He has fallen doing gallant 
work for others. . . . You will, I believe, feel the glory of such 
a death met while saving others ; yours, ours, is the loss, not 
his. He is mourned throughout the division. 

" You must not blame anyone. The brigadier and staff 
were absorbed in the fighting ; they had tried to restrain him, 
but he could not bear the thought of the men lying out wounded 
hour after hour thinking they were forsaken and forgotten. 

" He has glorified his profession and his Master. I hope to 
find out where the grave is and mark it with a cross, but the 
conditions of this awful battlefield are such that it is very 
difficult to do all that ought to be done to honour those who 
have fallen." 

September 23. — " I have been to-day to the spot where on 
Tuesday last some of the 1st Cheshires buried the rector's body. 

196 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

It is an exposed position at present, and I am afraid it is very 
likely to be shelled again, but I have driven a good strong 
cross, with metal lettering on it, deep into the ground." 

Numbers of letters were written to Mrs. Inglis's family ; 
all speak of him with the greatest affection and respect, and it 
will be clear to the minds of those who have read his letters 
from the front that he was a clean-minded, unselfish, and 
intensely sympathetic man. 

Amongst the letters written of him to his wife there are one or 
two I should like to quote. One from Colonel Murray, K.S.L.I. 

"... None knew his worth more than we did, as he lived 
with us for so long. One of the bravest men I have ever met, 
and we see many here ; he gave his life to help others. I fear 
that one of the reasons that took him to that part of the field 
was that he was looking for my doctor, whom he was very fond 
of, as he had previously wanted to go out and I had stopped him, 
but the day on which he met his end I did not see him. He 
always was much upset about wounded having to lie out any 
time, and he worked night and day to help them." 

Again, Colonel Lord Henry Scott, Commanding 8th Bedfords, 
writes : 

" He was one of those whom it was only necessary to meet 
and then to love. He was always so kind to me, and we had 
much in common. He alone in this brigade had many friends 
who were also friends of mine ; he also knew and shot on our 
moors at home. You know how splendid he was at gathering 
up the wounded on the battlefield. I said to one of the medical 
officers that I thought he was taking too much risk ; the M.O. 
answered, 'Anyhow, if he had not gone up, many of your 
wounded men would not have been brought in.' " 

To my humble mind that last sentence is the most com- 
forting of all the kindly efforts to carry healing to grief-stricken 
hearts. One would be proud to have hved for that alone. 

Private F. Edridge, 1st Buffs, writes : 

" I have been with this regiment at the front for twelve 
months, and I can vouch for what I say, as I saw it all myself. 
I should like to say that he is a great favourite of the men and 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 197 

we are all very proud of him. . . . On the night of the battle, 
at much inconvenience to himself, Mr. Inglis was around the 
trenches with a word of comfort for all, which nerved us for 
dangers we knew awaited us. The next time I saw him was 
after the fight ; he was with a party of R.A.M.C. men, and 
although the shells and bullets of the enemy were still tearing 
up the earth all around, and it was pouring hard with rain, he 
was helping the wounded and getting them back to cover and 
safety, working as hard as any man on the field that day. I 
only hope that his grand work was seen by someone in authority 
who will give him the honour and credit he so well deserves. I 
cannot say more, beyond that it was most noble and grand of 
him, and may it please our Lord and Master in Heaven to bless 
and reward him accordingly." 

From General L. Nicholson : 

" He was a man in a million, and very many of us in the 16th 
Brigade owe more to him than we can say. Personally, I am 
proud to have had him for a friend, even for that short time we 
lived together, and his death is a great grief to me. ... Of him 
it can be truly said, ' Greater love hath no man than this, that 
he gave his life for his friends.' " 

His brother-officers wrote some touching tributes ; one 
says : 

" I shall never forget when I was wounded and taken to the 
dressing-station on the canal bank how wonderful he was, 
cheering up all the men and handing cigarettes round, and he 
had been two days without rest. All the time I was in France 
I never met a Chaplain anything like him." 

The Rev. J. Dwyer Keily, C.F., Wesleyan, writes : 
" May the spirit of the dear rector live in the hearts of his 
children and make them great. . . . Always careless of himself 
and thoughtful for others. I never met a man so universally 
loved and respected in the brigade as he was, and as he passed 
along I think people felt kinder and better." 

Mr. Sidney Byass, of Llanlough Castle, Cowbridge, who had 
been one of Mr. Inglis's greatest friends for thirty years, has 
built a little chapel at La Panne to his memory. It has been 

198 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

furnished by Mrs. Inglis. It was at first used in connection with 
the Queen of the Belgians' hospital and was consecrated by Bishop 
Bury (Bishop of North and Central Europe) in June, 1917. 

There is a plate in the chapel explaining it was built in 
memory of The Rev. Rupert Edward Inglis by his friend 
Sidney Byass. 

British soldiers are in that chapel now, having been removed 
from the hospital, which was being shelled. 

How pleased Mr. Inglis Avould have been to see the numbers 
of soldiers outside, in lines, awaiting their turn to attend the 
daily service now held there. But who amongst us dare say he 
does not know ? 

One of the most charming of Mr. Inglis's characteristics was 
his devotion to his mother. There are many devoted sons and 
mothers, but the relationship between Rupert Inglis and his 
mother was out of the common. 

I have often noticed it is the men who love their mothers 
who live pure lives and carry brave hearts ; their love is a talis- 
man. Men's love for their mothers makes them tender and 
respectful to women. The man who believes in no woman's 
goodness and integrity is like a ship without a rudder. 

Lady Inglis, his mother, was the daughter of the first Baron 
Chelmsford (the Hon, Julia Selina Thesiger). She wrote a book 
of her experiences during the siege of Lucknow, which interested 
me, as I know the place intimately. The Rev. Rupert Inglis's 
father commanded the S2nd Regiment during the T^Iutiny, and 
marched with it into Lucknow in January, 1857. 

When Sir Henry Lawrence was mortally wounded in the 
Residency, he said no one better than Colonel Inglis could be 
found to command the troops. 

Lady Inglis (then Mrs. Inglis) and her children were shut into 
the besieged Residency or Bailie Guard with the other women 
and children. I know the room where she lay when ill, and the 
exact spot where Sir Henry Lawrence died. 

It seems fitting that the son of such a fine soldier as Sir John 
Inglis should have died amongst fighting soldiers. 

Mr. Rupert Inglis liked comfort and the good things of this 
world to which he had been accustomed, but was eager to throw 
it all on one side to go out and do his bit. 

He was a finely-built man, over six feet in height, and very 

Rev. Rupert Inglis 199 

strong, so in a measure he suffered less from his privation than 
some of his less robust fellow-workers ; but his height made some 
of the wayside iron beds and the dug-outs somewhat inadequate 
at times. 

I think what he termed his " rude health " partly accounted 
for his cheerfulness and sunny temper. Like most gentle 
natures, he hated pain for anybody or anything, and I am glad 
his own end was not one of long suffering. 

His religion was unostentatious, but very real. An intimate 
friend, speaking of his views, said, " He disliked the term 
' high church ' and ' broad church,' and he could not have been 
classified under either heading, as a broad-churchman is so 
liberal in his views as to have no principles left, and a high- 
churchman is a person who can be enthusiastic over the cut of 
a cope or number of candles. Rupert Inglis was a loyal adherent 
of the Catholic party in the Church of England, and was fearless 
in upholding what he felt to be the true ideals of the historic 

That may have been his friend's view, but I think Mr. Inglis 
was undoubtedly what we mean when we say a man is High 
Church. It is a silly expression, but through custom it conveys 
to our minds certain mental and religious attitudes. 

He was a man of quick temper, but well controlled, 
devoted to all his family and very proud of his children. He 
married the daughter of Mr. W. O. Gilchrist, of Queen's Gate. 

Mr. Inglis was born just after his father's death and spent a 
good deal of his childhood with the Chelmsford grandparents. 
Once when staying with them he shot a hare which was not on 
the family preserves. When it appeared on the table Lord 
Chelmsford, meaning to reprimand his grandson in a kindly way, 
said, " I cannot possibly eat poached hare." Rupert replied, 
" You eat poached eggs, so why not poached hare ? " 

From his earliest years Mr. Inglis had a distinct vocation for 
Holy Orders. He studied under Canon Luckock for a couple of 
terms, then went abroad to study languages, and returned to 
study under Canon Newbolt, whose influence was one of the 
strongest in his life. 

After being ordained in 1889, he held curacies at Helm ley, 
in Yorkshire, and later at Basingstoke. While curate at 
Helmsley, he was told by a farmer's wife, whom he was visiting. 

200 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that she had brought fourteen children into the world and the 
churchyard had been no friend to her ; from which it might be 
imagined that she had buried some of them. But it was only her 
quaint way of expressing herself ; what she meant was all her 
children had been spared to her, so the churchyard had not been 
called upon to befriend her. 

In 1899 Mr. Inglis was appointed rector of Frittenden, in 
Kent, from where the guns could be heard that were to end his 
earthly career. 

At first the Frittendens and their rector did not entirely agree 
in matters ecclesiastical, and there were little storms in teacups, 
but when, in 1915, their shepherd left them to join the troops as 
army chaplain, none were left behind who bore him any ill-will. 
One old lady said, " I don't mind my son going now, for Mr. 
Inglis will look after him." 

The rector of Frittenden said he always regretted having 
devoted so much of his time in his youthful days to games 
and sport, as it had prevented him reading as much as he ought 
to have done ; but he made up for it later, and perhaps in his 
last days he may have ceased the regret when he found what a 
passport it was to the soldiers' hearts ; how a chat in hospital 
with the wounded over cricket, football, boxing, shooting, or 
whatever it might be, helped them to forget their pain, and what 
was in many cases worse than physical pain, the lying thinking, 
and trying to solve the problem of life with limbs gone, eyesight, 
or possibly paralysed for life. A man may be gloriously brave 
physically in the excitement and heat of battle, with a collective 
courage in him, but great spiritual bravery is needed to face life 
maimed and nerve-shattered. I think Mr. Inglis felt this, and 
spent every spare moment with the wounded trying to cheer 
them and help them to be brave. He had a great admiration 
and love for the British soldier, and understood him, never 
under-estimating his difficulties, and by never appearing shocked 
gained their confidence. Being blessed with a certain amount 
of worldly goods he had the happiness of ministering to their 
material needs as well as their spiritual. 

Chapter XVI 

Captain the Rev. William Benton—" Doing a Bunk "—He Enlists— Fights a 
Corporal — Deserts — Joins Australian Artillery — Becomes Richard White 
— On Robben Island — Cooks for the Lepers — A Mission of Help — Father 
Engleheart's Work — Lives of the Lepers — A Court-Martial — The King's 
Pardon — Ordained — First Curacy — " Beer and Baccy Free " — In the 
Slums — Boxing Classes — At the Wash-Tub — A Poor Church Collection — 
South Africa Again — An Encounter with a Madman — Return to England — 
An Anonymous Letter — A Moving Sermon — Becomes Chaplain in France — 
An Act of Vengeance — Mr. Benton Cooks for the Soldiers — Doctors at Work 
— Ordered to Bed — Mr. Benton becomes a Combatant — As Sniping Officer 
Wounded — Impressive Services — Wounded Again — Home on Leave — 
Scouting and Scouting Officer — Dressed as an Old Woman — A Woman Spy 
— With Refractory Soldiers — A Long Good-bye — Wounded once More — 
Unconscious in Shell-Hole — Leg Amputated — The End. 

I DOUBT if this great war has ended any more remarkable 
and valuable life than that of Captain the Rev. William 
Richard Benton, who fell in the battle of the Somme in 
August, 1916. He was a man of many parts, his whole life a 
big adventure, a real and living romance. 

As a boy he was undoubtedly a scallawag, and scallawags 
are usually the most lovable members of a family ; we love them 
much better than " the good young man who died." 

Captain Benton's parents lived at Heme Bay, in Kent. His 
father, Thomas Mansford Benton, was a stockbroker and must 
have been sorely tried by his son, who was an emotional, 
headstrong youth, resenting any form of discipline, and, to 
impress this upon the minds of his parents, ran away from school 
three times. He always enjoyed what he called " doing a 
bunk." Twice he was sent back in ignominy, but the third time 
it was considered wasted energy. 

At the age of ten he ran away from home and sold his play- 
box to get money to buy food. He was by way of being edu- 
cated at Framlingham College. When he was seventeen his 
father died and he came into a small fortune. He chose stock- 
broking as a profession, presumably because his father had been 
a stockbroker, but of all the professions he could hardly have 

202 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

chosen one more unsuitable to his temperament. The life was 
much too tame and unexciting, but it was short-lived. A com- 
bination of stockbroking and love affairs ran away with all his 
money, and, to put it shortly, he played the mischief all round. 

He then disappeared and enlisted in the Royal Marine 
Artillery. With his Majesty's shilling in his pocket the prison 
walls of the barracks swallowed him up, but only for a short time. 
The army is a mill that grinds " exceeding small. " Harum- 
scarum young Benton had already demonstrated to all whom it 
might concern that he objected to being ground small after any 
fashion whatever. It was, therefore, not surprising that he and 
the army soon came into collision, which led to a fight with a 
corporal and desertion. 

The history of these events is rather slight, but he appears 
to have been in the habit of paying other men to do his fatigues 
for him. One day the corporal told Benton (who had enlisted 
under the name of White) to scrub his allotted span of floor 
himself. Benton suggested the corporal could do it ; this led 
to words, followed by blows, and the non-com)nissioned officer 
being laid out on the floor under discussion. Benton, being an 
athlete and quick with his fists, had the corporal at a dis- 

After this little episode Benton ran away and hid himself in 
various places until an opportunity of going to Australia came 
his way. The date of his departure I do not know, but he 
arrived in that country being known as, and having travelled 
as, Richard White. He now kept himself with any odd job 
that came his way until the Boer war broke out, when he 
immediately volunteered and joined the Australian Artillery as 
a gunner, still under the name of Richard White. He served all 
through the Boer war without being wounded and without any 
illness. He had been recommended for a commission when 
peace was declared. 

Being now a homeless wanderer once more, he made up his 
mind to join the Cape Mounted Police, and was stationed in a 
part of the country where opium-dens abounded. 

While in Cape Town he heard of a vacancy for a cook on 
Robben Island amongst the lepers. For this post he applied 
and was engaged, proving himself a useful man, acting as cook, 
painter, laundryman, and general factotum. 

Rev. W. Benton 203 

By this time he was what the world calls a " tough cus- 
tomer." Kipling has sung of England's Benton in the " Lost 

" There's a Legion that never was 'Hsted, 

That carries no colours or crest, 
But, spHt in a thousand detachments, 

Is breaking the road for the rest. 
Our fathers they left us their blessing, 

They taught us, and groomed us and crammed ; 
But we've shaken the clubs and the Messes 

To go and find out and be damned (dear boys). 

To go and get shot and be damned." 

The runaway schoolboy, stockbroker, private soldier, 
deserter, war veteran, mounted policeman, and cook had grown 
into a lean and sun-tanned man with keen eyes grown hostile 
with much looking on the rough side of life, the sort of person a 
man does not pick a quarrel with in a saloon if he can help it. 

What follows is at once extraordinary and commonplace. 
Much of the story of his conversion by the missioners on Robben 
Island reads like the wonderful histories of " How I was saved," 
which are expounded at Salvation Army meetings ; but, however 
that may be, this is the true account of a man whose after-life 
shows him to have been a magnificent fellow, which makes it 
interesting if for no other reason. 

His letters home at this time are not literature, but they are 
the genuine outpourings of one who has suddenly found himself 
and is struggling to become articulate. Phrases that sound 
platitudinous to unsympathetic ears are to him splendid dis- 
coveries that he is passionately anxious to make others under- 
stand and exult over as he does. 

It so happened that just at this time a Mission was being 
held in the island by Father Fitzgerald, who named it a 
"Mission of Help." 

One evening as Benton was passing the place where Father 
Fitzgerald was holding a meeting he thought he would look in 
and see what it was like. At this time he believed in nothing, 
was an agnostic, but he became interested in the address being 
delivered by the missioner, and next day went to see him and 
had a long talk. From this moment Benton began his life 
afresh, taking a more serious view of his obligations and responsi- 
bilities, ending with a very strong wish to take Holy Orders, 

204 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

feeling from his own experiences he would know how to help 
others and be able to sympathise with them. That holy man 
Father Engleheart, who was a chaplain to the lepers on Robben 
Island, took a great interest in young Benton, becoming to him 
a father in spirit and in deed. 

His advice to the young man was that he could not hope to 
take Orders until he had given himself up as a deserter ; this 
was agreat shock, as Benton quite thought that his active service 
with the Australians had purged his desertion. He was told 
this was not so, and was advised to journey home and give 
himself up, and that should the sentence be of a nature to 
disqualify him, he must accept it as God's indication that He 
did not call him to the Priesthood. This was a bitter pill. 

Some of the letters he wrote home during this moral up- 
heaval are interesting ; they were mostly addressed to his step- 
mother, to whom he was greatly attached. Writing from 
Robben Island on December 3, 1904, while still living under the 
name of White, he says : 

" I hardly know how to start writing to you, as I feel so 
utterly ashamed of myself for neglecting so long to answer j^our 
kind letter to me. I am afraid the truth is that until quite 
lately I have been so utterly selfish in thinking of my own 
advancement that I could not spare time to write to anybody ; 
however, thank God that time has passed, and I am writing to 
ask you to forgive my past unkindness and neglect and let us 
make a fresh start. I am the more encouraged to ask it now at 
this season of peace and goodwill towards all men, as I remember 
you used to think so much of this season. 

" Am settled down on this wonderful little island close to 
Cape Town and yet absolutely cut off from it. Later on, when 
I have paid all my debts (which is at present taking up every 
penny of my w^ages), I will send you some views of the Island. 
It is difficult though, even with them, to get any idea of what it 
is really like, and quite impossible to form any idea of the 
inhabitants. It is a wonderful idea to think of being put down 
in a place where there are over 1,000 souls composed of lunatics, 
lepers, and convicts, with the object of serving them. Were it 
not for the great fact that we can see Jesus Christ gazing at us 
and asking pity from their eyes, we might often feel them 

Rev. W. Benton 205 

repulsive and loathsome, but with that thought to guide us it is 
nothing short of marvellous the affection you get to feel for 
them all. 

" I don't think I should ever have known and felt this 
beautiful pity and love for them had it not been for that great 
' Mission of Help ' which has been out here. I went on the 
first night and then never missed. I seem to have lived my 
whole life in the most intense ignorance of what is wanted and 
required of us. I had a chat with the missioner, a Mr. Fitz- 
gerald ; he is a very High Churchman and not at all like what we 
generally fancy missioners to be. That chat led to others, and 
now I feel a different being altogether." 

A great remorse seems to have seized him for the way he had 
treated his people ; it suddenly came home to him how unkind 
he had been to them. Now the home he had run away from was 
remembered lovingly, and a great longing came to him to see 
it and all appertaining to it again. Later in the same letter he 
says : 

" I should indeed love to see the little cottage and the old 
church again. Would you mind putting a bunch of flowers on 
dear old Dad's and Mother's grave for me ? I should like to 
think of them being there." 

He then expressed the wish for letters, the same longing 
experienced by most exiles, letters from home. 

The relationship between stepmothers and stepchildren is 
not always a happy one, but the affection between Dick Benton 
and his stepmother was quite charming ; she thought the world 
of him and he was devoted to her. 

The following letter gives some idea of this. 

"RoBBEN Island, 
" Nr. Cape Town, 
" Cape Colony, S. Africa. 

''February 1, 1905. 

" Your letter received this mail. You cannot think how 
delighted I was. It was such a beautiful letter and I have read 
it over many times. . . . You are a born comforter, and you 
always have something nice and cheery to say to me. . . . You 
ask me to tell you what I am doing. Well, at the time of writing 
I am clerk in the works' department office of Robben Island. 

2o6 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

. . . This is perhaps the most unique spot on the face of the 
earth, about eight miles from Cape Town and six from the 
nearest land. The island itself is only about six or seven miles 
round, simply a dot in the ocean. Nobody is allowed on it 
except by Government permit. The population is made up of 
long-lived convicts (coloured), lunatics, lepers ; and all the 
criminal cases come here, together with the various warders, 
attendant nurses, workmen and Governmicnt officials necessary 
to look after them. I am one of the latter." 

Writing evidently in answer to a question from his step- 
mother : 

" No, I am not a missioner yet, but I may be some day. 
You know, you can't go on a Mission just as you can walk 
into a shop and buy a penny bun ; a long course of training is 
necessary before you are fit for such work. 

" You must not think we are in a desert, or anything of that 
kind. We have not much in the way of trees and shrubs, it 
is mostly rock and sand, but there are good substantial buildings 
for the higher officers and the patients. The rest of us live in 
houses made mostly of corrugated iron and wood, very complete, 
but a proper harbour for bugs and fleas ; that, however, is 
merely a detail. 

" We have cricket here, dances and concerts. All drink is 
well guarded. I have given up all intoxicants, though not a 
teetotaler. I find I am better without it, and besides, I cannot 
afford it. We need to keep our wits about us. The patients 
are sometimes dangerous and the convicts have to be watched 
carefully, so all things considered I think it is better to do 

" Some of the lepers are in an awful state, and yet they are 
wonderfully patient under their trials. I was working in the 
leper compound as a house-painter when first I came here, and 
so got to know a lot of them very well. I now go in my spare 
time to visit them and try to cheer them up a bit. There is one 
I go especially to see. He is an Englishman of good family 
and was at one time leading a fast life. A good-hearted chap, 
owned his own race-horses and was a most popular fellow. 
Then this awful disease came out on him. He was in a great 
state of despondency at first, and confessed he had thought of 

Rev. W. Benton 207 

destroying himself. We who are well are not half thankful 
enough for all God's great mercies. . . . Taken to-day my first 
service in church here to help a chaplain. It was for coloured 
boys, and was my first official service for God, and I was and 
am so thankful to Him for using such an unworthy vessel as 
I am in His service ; may He grant that we may all in our 
several ways help to spread His Kingdom. 

" I have been playing a good deal of cricket here. ... I am 
now living with the chaplain ; he is such a friend to me. He 
is one of Sir Thomas Engleheart's sons, and gave up a most 
comfortable living at home to come here and do good. He is 
very humble and never seems to see that he is doing so much 
good. He has a private income and gives a lot away, living in 
the plainest possible manner himself, begrudging even a shilling 
a month for his own tobacco. He lends me his books and is 
always helping in some way or other. Last week he gave me a 
watch and would not allow a word of thanks ; never will, saying 
it was as much for himself as for me, as he wanted me always to 
be in time for meals. That is the way he puts things off. 

" He has offered to pay all expenses for me to go to a Theo- 
logical College at home, probably St. Chads, Durham, if they 
will take me to be trained as a priest for the sacred ministry. 

" I am waiting for an answer from Father Fitzgerald to 
know if they will take me, and I have started reading Greek and 
Latin, as there is an entrance examination to this college which 
I am afraid will be very stiff to me after being so long away 
from school. 

" I wish dear father had lived to see my happiness, but still, 
he will know after all. The only bar to it all is my own un- 
worthiness. It seems awfully presumptive to have wasted so 
many of the best years of one's life and then to take the re- 
mainder and offer it to God. May I think that all of you at 
home will rejoice with me that I have found my true vocation ? 

" Father Engleheart has been to immense trouble finding 
out and arranging all sorts of things for me, even to my taking 
my right name again ; but I cannot do that until on my journey 
home, which will be about October. Father Fitzgerald has 
written to say he thinks they will take me at St. Chads. It will 
mean very hard work, as I have a lot to read up and preparation 
to do, but it will be a work of love, which makes it much easier. 

2o8 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" We played Wellington yesterday at cricket and beat them 
easily. Our opponents couldn't get back to town again owing 
to a heavy south-easter that was blowing ; these winds cut us 
off entirely from the mainland, as no boat can live in the sea. 

" I am settled down now in the Commissioner's office to 
steady work, and could remain here to the end of the chapter, 
but I think that I can do better work for our Lord in the 

" Many things attract me here, and I shall be very sorry 
indeed to leave. It has been a home to me when I was friend- 
less, but it has been more than that, it has been the place in 
which I have truly found my God. For that reason alone it 
will ever hold the very strongest place possible in my affections." 

At last the definite news came that the Theological College 
would take him in spite of the past, and he came home after his 
long absence to give himself up and face his court-martial. 

Father Engleheart, whose advice he was following, had 
meanwhile, I think, been at work himself and got others to work 
in Mr. Benton's favour. 

The much dreaded, yet anxiously looked forward to day 
arrived for the court-martial, and speaking of that time, Benton 
said : 

" When I went in to receive sentence the President held out 
his hand and said, ' I congratulate you, Benton ; here is the 
King's pardon,' and I was let off scot free. I believe that such 
a thing has never happened before, and when my director heard 
it he said, ' This is the finger of God, your way is clear.' " 

Benton then went to Lichfield Theological College for two 
years, and was ordained by the Bishop of Lichfield in 1908. 

His first curacy was at Walsall, in Staffordshire, which was 
the very place for him, being largely a slum parish providing 
plenty of scope for his energies, and he felt, no doubt, that 
whatever the drawbacks of his career it would at least enable 
him to deal with the rough elements, as milder brands of curates 
could scarcely hope to do. 

He found his vicar a very good man, but one who stood 
somewhat aghast before the slums into which he had failed to 
penetrate in the spiritual sense. It is easy to imagine how 
Benton's enthusiasm was fired by this situation, so when his 

Rev. W. Benton 209 

chief mourned to him over. the " Submerged Tenth," he rephed, 
" This is not your work, vicar ; it requires a bachelor to go and 
hve among them, and I will go." 

If the good vicar was slightly scandalised at so much assur- 
ance on the part of his new curate he must have felt relieved at 
the idea of the slums being taken off his shoulders, so he 

Benton took rooms in the worst part of the district and set 
about converting the submerged. His methods were original, 
and if the vicar knew all, his hair must have stood straight on 
end, for on the door of his lodging appeared a large notice, 
" Beer and baccy free; come and have a talk"— which as a 
preliminary must have endeared him to the hearts of the 
temperance party ! but he was absolutely fearless in his con- 
victions and ideas. If he felt a thing was right he would do it, 
although his methods were often misunderstood and criticised. 

With this stimulating announcement on his door he awaited 
events. No one came for some time, but at last a few venture- 
some spirits dropped in and were greeted something after this 
fashion : 

" Here I am come to live among you, whether you like it or 
not. My door will always be open and you can come and help 
yourselves to a pipe or to a meal, but don't take anything away. 
If I have any tobacco it will be here, and if I have any beer it 
will be here. If it is not here it will mean I have not got any." 

Mr. Benton said, as far as he knew, his rough visitors never 
did take anything out of the house. 

It was almost impossible to get any facts from him of his 
work amongst the poor, but I know a good deal of his endea- 
vours and doings at different times in his life. 

Some of his experiences in the Walsall slums were unusual. 
He was known amongst the habitues as the " Fighting Parson." 
This was in consequence of his settling disputed points in 
pugilistic fashion, which no doubt he found was the method they 
understood best. 

Once when finding a man and wife having a fierce fight he 
ventured to interfere, and while so doing another man came up 
behind and struck him a violent blow behind the ear. After 
Mr. Benton had finished with the married couple he turned to 
his second assailant, who said by way of explanation, " You 


210 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

have no right to interfere between another man and his wife." 
Mr. Benton then invited him to take his coat off ; this he did 
with a good deal of action to show how brave and strong he 
was — a man of determination, in fact. The curate promptly 
knocked him down ; the man got up expressing himself as 
anxious to continue the fight, and was promptly knocked down 
again ; asked if he would like some more, the man shame- 
facedly replied in the negative. He was then invited to go and 
drink a cup of tea with his opponent. 

The curate seems to have been lucky in his battles, for 
although an experienced boxer, it is not unusual for experts to 
meet with disaster when they try to fight roughs where 
unconventional methods are sometimes adopted, such as 
butting with the head and kicking ; but probably he had learnt 
a thing or two with the Cape Mounted Police. On more than 
one occasion he surprised some of those he met in the slums by 
taking his coat off and inviting others to do the same. 

It was not long before he had many sincere admirers, for the 
sporting spirit was strong in him and this attracted men who 
liked to talk cricket, football, running, and boxing with him. 
He held classes on all sorts of subjects for the amusement and 
instruction of his neighbours. His boxing classes were in great 
favour. I think it struck the men he had found it necessary to 
knock down and teach a wholesome lesson, that it was very 
sporting and decent of the parson to teach them the noble art 
of self-defence ! 

While on his round visiting amongst the very poor one day 
Mr. Benton came across a woman, very tired, at a washing-tub ; 
he told her to rest awhile and mind the kiddies and he would 
finish the washing for her. His coat was off and hung up, his 
sleeves rolled back and the soap-suds flying, before the woman 
realised what was taking place. 

Mr. Benton's knowledge of men and the seamy side oi life, 
combined with his most earnest and eloquent preaching, made 
him an ideal slum parson. The fire was burning fiercely in his 
heart ; from an undisciplined, emotional scallawag he had 
become an altruist, no longer so undisciplined, but still highly 
emotional, longing to make up for his wasted years. For 
instance, one day when he thought the collection in church had 
not been worthy of the cause he had been preaching, he rushed 

Rev. W. Benton 211 

home and made it up with a cheque of his own, altogether out 
of proportion to his means, declaring as he signed it he had never 
been so^ngry in his life. 

So hard did he work in Walsall that after two years his 
health broke down, and after a severe haemorrhage he was 
ordered abroad and went to Switzerland ; after a nine months' 
cure he was advised to try the climate of South Africa. While 
there he went to a mission station in the high mountains, where 
he met Miss Ida Wrentmore, to whom he became engaged. 
After working two years in Namaqualand he went to St. 
Andrew's Church, Newlands, near Cape Town, for a few months, 
then as senior curate to St. Barnabas' Church, Klooprood, 
Cape Town. 

Just at this time his old friend Father Engleheart, the 
chaplain on Robben Island, wished to go home to England on 
hearing of his mother's death, but was unable to find anybody 
to take his place while away. Mr. Benton offered himself and 
returned once more to work amongst the lepers. So little is 
known of this island and its unhappy inhabitants with their 
loathsome disease, that to many people the self-sacrifice of those 
who willingly go to work amongst them cannot be realised. It 
takes about one and a half hours from Cape Town to Robben 
Island, and the journey is all by sea. The place was chosen as 
a leper settlement because of its isolation. There are several 
hospitals, one with a doctor for lepers alone, another for the 
officials and lunatics. The nurses are mostly men, and called 
warders. The disease is most unpleasant and repulsive ; the 
face is the part generally affected ; the hair falls off and the 
voice becomes hoarse and nasal, or lost altogether. Dusky red 
and livid tubercles of various sizes, varying from a pea to an 
olive, appear on the face, ears, and extremities, often causing 
ulceration of the whole surface, accompanied by extreme foetor. 
In some forms the fingers and toes fall off ; other poor victims 
become quite blind and mad. Sometimes their poor lips are 
all eaten away, and Mr. Benton had to feed the sufferers with a 
spoon, even giving the Sacraments by spoon. Nothing certain 
is known of the cause of the disease. It is carried in many 
ways. The germs have been found on vermin, flies, and once 
on the wing of a partridge. No cure has yet been found, but 
corrosive sublimate and arsenious acid in minute doses are the 

212 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

most likely to be of use. Sulphur baths have also been recom- 
mended. Cold aggravates the patients' sufferings, and fish 
diet is supposed to make the symptoms worse, though <( believe 
this is now a disputed point. The disease may continue for 
many years without causing death ; when far advanced it is 
incurable ; even in its early stages a cure is uncertain. 

While on the island Mr. Benton did untold work for the 
lepers. He used to wash and dress some of the most pitiful 
cases, carry them out to enjoy fresh air, feed them, cook for 
them, and help to cheer them during their long, miserable days. 

There are some vivid glimpses of the awful experiences 
Benton went through in some of his letters. 

Here is a perfect nightmare of a story : 

" Some of the lepers are mad and have to be kept in cages. 
Well, one day I was going round to talk to the lunatics and 
went inside a cage, and like a fool let the door swing to behind 
me and it locked itself. Seeing I was locked in, the lunatic at 
once made for me and tried to bite me. Now if there is a safe 
recipe for getting leprosy it is a leper's bite, so I scooted round 
for all I was worth, yelling for the keeper to come and open the 
door. Fortunately I had the legs of the man, as one of his was 
wooden. At last, seeing he could not catch me, the leper pulled 
up, took off his leg and hurled it at me. Mercifully he missed 
me and I made a dash for it, and by brandishing it with threats 
of braining him I kept him at a distance until the keeper came 
and let me out." 

In some cases the poor objects have no features left at all, 
and are a " writhing mass." 

I think enough has been said to show what the life of Mr. 
Benton was during his work on the island. I ought perhaps to 
have said the lepers are enclosed with barbed wire, and no one 
without a permit from the Commissioner is allowed near them. 
The men and women live on different sides of the island. There 
is a home for the children, looked after by some sisters from 
St. Margaret's. They have a beautiful chapel. It is wonderful 
what the poor little souls can do, considering their infirmities. 
There is great rejoicing when a child leper dies, as the pain gets 
worse as they grow older. 

Mr. Benton had enormous sympathy with the lepers, who so 
bitterly felt their hard lot and being cut off from everything 

Rev. W. Benton 213 

and everybody. They used to say, " What have I done to be so 
punished ? " and what was there to say in reply ? 

The Faculty, I am now told, state the disease is not 
hereditary and the children are never born with it. 

Every community weaves around itself certain conventions, 
has its little dignities of which it is a jealous guardian, resenting 
any infringement of its social status. Even these poor 
maimed, suffering, and disfigured mortals on Robben Island have 
a grievance outside their piteous malady, for they resent 
passionately that their island should be a dumping-ground for 
convicts ; they feel it is a slur on themselves. 

While working as priest in Cape Town it was part of Mr. 
Benton's duties to act as chaplain to all the members of the 
theatrical companies visiting the country. This interested 
him, and he had many souvenirs that he treasured from those 
he had helped in more ways than one. 

He now married, and having the curacy-in-charge of 
Bearsted, in Kent, offered to him, he returned to England with 
his restored health. 

The sleepy little country village of Bearsted was suddenly 
called upon to wake up, for Mr. Benton's methods were rousing 
and unconventional ; perhaps considered by some unorthodox. 
He rather horrified some of the saintly parishioners by suggest- 
ing the Church, Christianity, and God's mercy were all for 
sinners as well as saints ; in fact, the sinners were his special 
charges, on them he devoted his greatest efforts. He would go 
into the public-houses to talk and smoke with the habitues, 
to try and win them ; this, of course, laid him open to con- 
siderable criticism. There were those who said it was easy to 
get people to church and sing in the choir if bribed to do so by 
" beer and baccy " ! Before long Mr. Benton had a string of 
followers, some becoming choirmen, some communicants, and 
I do not think either beer or baccy had anything more to do 
v;ith it than having been the means of bringing curate and 
parishioners into closer touch than would otherwise have been 
possible ; and long after Mr. Benton had left the parish those 
v/hom he had won over to the faith of our fathers were still 
regular churchgoers. 

One old peasa.nt whose attendance at church had been very 
limited was evidently touched by Mr. Benton's administrations, 

214 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

for when ill and a layman went to see him, he was told to 
" Go away ! I want my clergyman ; where is my clergyman ? " 
meaning Mr. Benton. 

Another man in quite a different class of life, who had been 
in great trouble, said, " I don't know what I should have done 
without Benton." 

Boxing classes were soon going again full swing. One night 
when giving a class of boys lessons in boxing, a strange man 
walked in and said he would hke to have the gloves on and have 
a turn with the parson. Mr. Benton explained he was busy 
with the kiddies, but would with pleasure give him a turn 
another night. 

An appointment was made and kept, but when they began 
sparring it soon was quite apparent the stranger was growing 
savage, so Mr. Benton said, " Look here, do you want to box or 
to fight ? " "To fight," replied the man. " Oh, very well 
then, I only wanted to know," said Mr. Benton, and in a very 
short time the man was knocked out. 

While in the midst of his work at Bearsted Mr. Benton 
received an anonymous letter threatening to expose his past, so 
he very wisely and bravely determined to tell the Bear- 
stedonians all about it himself. He therefore one Palm Sunday 
chose the text for his sermon out of Isaiah vi., " I am a man of 
unclean lips." He then continued, " I once knew a man of 
whom this was true," etc., describing his own failings and 
giving a faithful autobiography. Before the sermon was over 
the preacher broke down and many of his hearers were in tears. 
From that day all hearts went out to Mr. Benton, and the 
Bearstedonians became greatly attached to the man whose 
religion must be a vital, living thing, to enable him to stand up 
and tell his congregation of all his sins and mistakes, in the 
hope that by so doing he might be a help to others, make them 
feel less like castaways, that there was hope for them yet. 

He was a gifted preacher and seemed most at home when 
preaching to men, who were always attracted by his personality. 
They felt that here was one who could sympathise with their 
ov/n lives. 

Possessed of much musical talent and a good voice, he set 
himself to build up the choir, and he was well rewarded. Some 
of his choirmen were so angry that anyone should have dared 

Rev. W. Benton 215 

to write an anonymous letter to Mr. Benton that they went 
about trying to find the author of it, meaning if they captured 
him to cool his malice in the village duckpond. 

Many who knew Benton in those days have written and 
spoken to me of his goodness and wonderful work, how every 
waking moment he devoted to working in some way for the God 
he so truly loved. His personality and sympathy with human 
frailty enabled him to reach many hearts hitherto untouched, 
or only lukewarm. No one could remain lukewarm where Mr. 
Benton was working, his earnestness and enthusiasm were too 
real and infectious. Many to-day write and speak of him with 
affection, and a thousand regrets that he will return to them no 

In August, 1914, the declaration of war was just another 
glorious opportunity for his adventurous spirit, and he was 
restless until in the same month he joined the forces as chaplain 
in France. His first letter home was written on September 
14, and addressed to his wife. He tells her he will try and 
write regularly, but has not much time, as he is very busy 
" buzzing about in motors, and a lot of wounded are being 
brought in." 

The following extracts from his letters to his wife give some 
idea of his life : 

September 17, 1914. — "I am hard at it now. We have 
about six hundred wounded here. Some are in great pain, but 
all are very brave. They seem glad to see me and enjoy a 
friendly talk. I went across and saw some German wounded 
this morning. Some of them have terrible wounds. Our 
fellows are very cheerful, and many are anxious to get back to 
the front again. The Army Medical Corps are doing splendidly. 
They work like Trojans. I like them all, from the Colonel 
down. I am busy round the tents and marquees all day long. 
Am just called away, so must stop." 

An undated letter written a little later says : 
" We got in a Celebration on Sunday and an evening service 
for all kinds, but were hard at work all day pitching more tents 
for the wounded. They are coming down in droves now, and 
our hands are full up. Some of the wounds are awful, but our 
fellows are simply marvellous in their pluck. We have a 

2i6 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

splendid surgeon, most quick and skilful, but greatly over- 
worked. He is a sight to see when he comes in to wash before 
luncheon or dinner, bespattered all over with blood and stuff 
from face to feet. . . . Do not mind if you do not get many 
letters. We are sometimes up day and night getting wounded 
off by trains or taking them to camp. Our hospital and all 
tents are full of them. It is cold out in the open at nights now. 
I could do with some writing-paper and envelopes, I write so 
many letters for the wounded." 
Later : 

" Convalescent Camp, 

" Rouen. 
" We are all under canvas here. It is really wonderful to 
see what they have done in the way of fixing things up ; there 
are literally miles of country rigged and being rigged up into 
hospitals and camps." 

10 Stationary Hospital. 

November 4, 1914. — " We have moved again and are now 
within six hours' journey of London (in peace times), but yet 
how far away ! Travelling here is very slow, and we were 
thirty-nine hours in the train, and having got here had to unload 
twenty-six tons of luggage from the train, reload it and cart it 
something over a mile to hospital, then unload it again and 
arrange it all. The whole of this in four hours ! ! We were 
awfully tired, but had to take over about one hundred cases 
in hospital. We had just finished when the Major received an 
urgent wire instructing him to receive one hundred and fifty bad 
cases from a sick train, so we began again and were at it all 
night, but managed to get all settled in by 7 next morning. 
Some were in a dangerous condition and have since died. We 
bury them in blankets in an enormous trench, side by side. 
The French are very kind and decorate the trench with flowers 
and flags. I have been busy to-day seeing off a hundred of our 
patients by ambulance train for the Base, and from thence 
home. I would not mind a trip with them. 

" I was out yesterday at the front about two hundred yards 
behind the trenches. I went with our senior Chaplain. . . . 
We took a motor-car full of cigarettes, tobacco, pipes, matches, 
and soap. The men were so thankful. The artillery fire was 

Rev. W. Benton 2i7 

terrific. One of the large German shells had hit the road and 
made it impassable. There was a hole just as if a huge tree had 
been pulled out by the roots. I also saw a fight in the air 
between a German Taube and an English aeroplane. The 
former soon cleared off, so the Englishman chased him for a bit 
and then returned." 

November 25, 1914. — " I am attached now to the Lahore 
Division clearing hospital. At our last place we cleared — that 
is, took in, treated, and passed on — some one thousand two 
hundred and fifty men in five days. Here we have had five 
hundred and fifty through in two days, and I am feeling tired. 
I was nearly asleep while walking about to-day. I am hoping 
I may get a rest to-night, but a convoy of wounded may come 
in any moment. 

" I heard of a horrid act of vengeance the other day. It was 
told to me by an officer in the London Scottish who saw it 
personally. A certain sergeant-major who had shot six or 
seven Germans went out at night to try and find their rifles. 
Two days afterwards, when the British got into the village, they 
found him crucified to a door with bayonets. Whether done 
before death or after, it was a vile act of revenge. These things 
make me wild. I meant to write more, but they are calling for 

No. 10 Clearing Station Hospital. 
October 11.—" We are trying to keep up next Sunday in a 
special way here, as it is St. Luke's Day, and so the great festival 
for all connected with hospital work and the work of healing. 
. . . By the way, if you could manage to send me a packet of 
matches I would be very glad. They are a scarce commodity 
here, and those we do get are no good and are tipped with yellow 
sulphur. Some of the men call them ' Wait-a-bit ' ; the more 
euphonious name is the good old English ' Stinker.' " 

In some of Mr. Benton's letters, when writing of the funerals 
he had been taking, he says : 

" It is really a very impressive sight. All the people stand 
still and cross themselves as we go by, and the soldiers, both 
French and our own, stand to attention and salute as the 
procession passes. . . , 

2i8 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" The Germans, though they are committing awful atrocities, 
are fighting very fairly in the main, and will take a lot of beating. 
, . . My French efforts at times would make a cat laugh." 

No. 7 Clearing Hospital. 

November 18. — " Since coming here we have been working 
night and day. We were only one section of a clearing hospital 
with three surgeons and twenty-one men all told. We had no 
proper cook. Two of the orderlies volunteered to try and do it, 
but they could not make much of a hand at it, so I got in and 
tried to help. I made a stew of meat and vegetables, and gave 
them tea. They were very thankful. I lived for the first 
forty-eight hours here on the run between the cook-house (which 
was in the open, the sleet and rain coming down hard) and the 
operating-theatre. I have seen such sights in the latter as will 
last me for all eternity. The surgeons were magnificent. Two 
of them worked on without a break for thirty-six hours, operat- 
ing and dressing ghastly wounds. I led them away afterwards, 
for they could hardly walk. Then we packed some of the cases 
into the ambulance train, but as fast as we emptied out ambu- 
lance wagons fresh ones drove up packed with men, and so the 
round has gone on till last night, when orders came that we were 
to take no more cases but were to evacuate what we had and 
stand by for fresh orders. 

" We managed to get in a Celebration this morning, and 
twenty-eight orderlies, officers, and patients joined us. It was 
very beautiful and yet very weird, for in the middle of it a 
Taube dropped a bomb in the Square about two hundred yards 
away, and the remainder of the service was carried out to an 
accompaniment of shots by an anti-aircraft gun at the Taube. 

" To-day another Padre, one of our surgeons named Bates 
(a real hero), and myself went out to see the town that has been 
the centre of the fighting lately, to get some snapshots. We 
understood they had left off shelling it, and we got into the 
middle of the town when suddenly they began to shell it again. 
For about twenty minutes we were in a centre of flying bricks, 
stones, broken glass, etc., not to mention shells. 

" Providentially we got away all right, but we had quite 
eight Jack Johnsons burst within three hundred yards of us, 
and two of them within one hundred and fifty. It was quite 

Rev. W. Benton 219 

exciting. I badly wanted to find our guns and get the O.C. 
to allow me to relieve the gun-layee (being an old hand with a 
first-class gunnery instruction certificate) for a little, and help 
to get some of our own back, but the other chaps had not been 
under gunfire before and so we retired as rapidly as possible. 
I heard a J.J. coming over during our retirement and went down 
flat on my tummy in some soft mud and got very dirty. I 
presented rather an undignified appearance for a parson. 

" However, here we are safely back and retiring some twenty 
miles to-morrow. I would not have gone had any of us known 
the danger, but now that it is over I would not have missed the 
experience for anything. 

" I am dog-tired. . . . My CO. is here ordering me to bed." 

Finding he was not allowed in the front trenches with the 
men, Mr. Benton asked to be allowed to take a combatant 
commission so that he could fight and carry on his work as 
Padre at the same time and be with the men in their most 
anxious and strenuous moments. Writing to his people at this 
time he says, " There are plenty of chaplains but a great 
dearth of experienced officers," and he thought he could be more 
useful as a soldier, having had previous experience. He then 
continues, " I have seen the Archbishop of Canterbury, and 
though he does not approve, he does not condemn my action." 

With the permission of the Ecclesiastical authorities, Benton 
received his commission as a lieutenant in the Manchester 
Regiment in April, 1915, and was at once made Brigade Sniping 
Officer. In six weeks he was promoted to Captain, and was 
exceedingly popular with both officers and men. In September 
he was wounded, and the following letter will show how he 
broke the news to his wife so as to give her no shock. 

" Just a line to let you know I'm quite all right. ... I got 
a bullet in my left forearm yesterday, but it did no damage. 
I went into a main station and had it taken out. They had to 
cut about one and a half inches deep. However, I am back to 
my work all right. The General came round and saw me this 
morning. I am just going to have a good dose of morphia and 
go to sleep for a bit. I think I got the fellow who hit me. I 
could not reach him with my rifle, so got the artillery officer to 
bring in five rounds of high-explosive shell — and he went up ! 

220 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

The sniper was behind a bullet-proof plate and I was behind one 
of our plates. The bullet ricochetted up under the plate and 
caught my forearm. Wasn't it a good thing it was not m.y 
tummy ? We've got so far twenty-three enemy hit (five 
snipers), eighteen plates broken, four observation-posts spotted 
and destroyed, four batteries spotted, and thirty or thirty-one 
periscopes outed. Not bad for eighteen days, eh ? I was 
going to write some more, but the things are beginning to 
work " (morphia). " Good-night." 

There is another interesting letter written from No. 8 
Clearing Hospital. It is undated, and in consequence a little 
confusing, as he speaks of his wound which he received when 
sniping in September and at the same time refers to the im- 
pressive service he has been holding. I was under the impression 
he ceased to hold them when he became a combatant. 

Here, however, is the letter : 

" I am still going on all right." This was three months 
after his forearm was wounded in September, so it cannot have 
been a trifling affair, though he told his wife the bullet had done 
no damage ! He continues in the same letter, " I have charge 
of both hospitals for a few days, as Gillingham has gone home for 
ninety-six hours' leave. I am the only one of the men who 
came out before the end of August who have not gone home on 

" We had some wonderfully impressive services on Sunday. 
There were sixty-four at the 8.30 Celebration, six hundred 
(about) at the 9.30 service, four hundred and fifty at the 10.15 
service, and about five hundred at the 11 o'clock. All ranks were 
present, from Generals to Tommies. I get a bit tired in the 

" The death-roll is still very heavy. I have funerals everv 

I am not sure of the date, but it was about this time Captain 
Benton was again wounded, in the thigh this time, and he 
would not go into hospital with it, but went to have it dressed 
every day. Septic poisoning, however, obliged his going home, 
where he stayed for four months ; but not in idleness, for after 
seven weeks of recuperation he was sent to Ripon, in Yorkshire, 

Rev. W. Benton 221 

as Sniping Officer, to organise scouting and sniping schoo'.s all 
round the country. 

While carrying out these duties he was thrown a good deal 
in the society of Major Tullock, D.S.O., the 1st Batt. West Kent 
Regiment, who became a close and valued friend, and he tells 
me Captain Benton was rather upset at having to undertake 
theoretical and practical instruction for officers and men 
instead of being at the front. 

After it was pointed out to him that the influence he would 
have in the training of men at home would be farther reaching 
than he could hope for in France, he became reconciled and 
entered heartily into the task. 

Those who understand these things say Captain Benton was 
a most thorough and able instructor and lecturer, and besides 
this did " untold good, being aided by his wonderful per- 

His lectures were listened to with deep interest and attention. 
Knowing his subject from A to Z, his audience soon gained 
confidence in him, and every word he uttered carried weight. 
By degrees, instead of hundreds attending his classes, there were 
thousands, and he began to think that perhaps after all he was 
doing his share for England as truly as if in the trenches. 

He considered the average Englishman the most unimagina- 
tive and unsuspicious of men, and he used to have some fun in 
consequence, while endeavouring to teach his classes to be more 
observant. He would tell them to meet him at a given point 
and then appear there dressed in some old civilian clothes 
topped with a most disreputable old cap, under which his face 
was disguised by the free use of charcoal and some mud. He 
would walk past his class first of all to see if any of them would 
recognise him, and as they never did under such circumstances 
he then walked up to them and began asking questions as to 
what they were doing there, keeping up a whistling accompani- 
ment to himself all the time. Finally he would make himself 
known, pointing out at the same time that if a scout were so 
unsuspicious he would not be much use to his country. 

Captain Benton was distinctly practical, and in order to 
increase the watchfulness of one of his classes he told them that 
he would pass along a certain road between definite hours and 
they were to meet him. He then left the class to go and think 

222 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

of the best method of evading their alertness. As he sat by the 
side of the road smoking his pipe and turning the matter over in 
his mind, a cart drove by with an old woman in it wearing a huge 
sun-bonnet. He at once realised that this was the disguise he 
needed, and after a certain amount of discussion, persuasion, 
and a small douceur, the old lady was induced to lend her 
bonnet and an exceedingly dirty shawl. I believe the putting 
on of the bonnet and its final arrangement caused both of them 
considerable amusement. When all was fixed up satisfactorily, 
if not comfortably. Captain Benton sat in the corner of the cart 
among cabbages and vegetables of all sorts while the woman 
drove him along, carrying on an animated conversation with 
her sun-bonneted friend. 

The ruse was completely successful, and the chagrined and 
bamboozled class had to admit that they were not as wide 
awake as they ought to have been. I cannot help feeling a 
little surprise that they did not suspect something after their 
previous experience. 

Captain Benton made a splendid observation officer. He 
had such an eye for detail, and his memory was extraordinary. 

Once when passing through a large military camp a woman 
who was walking in the same direction as himself began asking 
him questions about the camp which he considered suspicious. 
He therefore made a mental note of her smart appearance, which 
he afterwards wrote down and communicated to the authorities. 
His description turned out to be astonishingly accurate in all 
particulars : height, hair, eyes, size and shape of hat, details 
of dress, stockings and shoes, even to the gloves and shape of 
hands, as well as a small bag she carried. So clear was the 
description that the police identified the woman in the 
course of two days. He had only seen her for a few moments. 
Captain Benton often said the British soldier was too un- 
suspicious, and in consequence easily outwitted by a more wily 
enemy. He was very anxious to dress up in a German soldier's 
uniform and see if he could not pass through an English camp 
undetected, and he believed he could do it. The idea was not 
carried out, owing to the difficulty at the time of getting the 
necessary uniform. 

Captain Benton was at all times anxious to hand on what he 
had learnt from experience. This was much appreciated by 

Rev. W. Benton 223 

most of those with whom he came in contact. In the words of 
one who knew him well, " he was loved as an unselfish, whole- 
hearted, true soldier and friend." If he could save a soldier 
from getting into trouble he was happy. 

While at Ripon holding these classes he failed one evening 
to turn up for tea where his belongings were awaiting him. He 
had been giving a lecture in the North Camp. Time passed on, 
midnight came, and still no Captain Benton. He arrived in the 
early hours completely exhausted, and explained he had been 
detained. It was found out he had been on his way home, and 
when passing through the town had come across various soldiers 
just back from leave. All were more or less intoxicated and 
had no officer or non-commissioned officer with them. The 
men were quite unable to find their way to camp, and resented 
interference from him, but he forced them to form fours and 
arrive at some sort of order, collecting others until he had 
about fifty or more, and then marched this strange company 
through the town and out of harm's way, keeping them on the 
move until discipline was fully restored and the men recovering, 
when he took them back to the North Camp. 

It was difficult to get anything from him about the incident, 
but I know he was very happy at having saved the men from 
getting into trouble. 

In February, 1916, Captain Benton returned to France, but 
before leaving England he wrote to his sister, saying : 

" I hope I shall see you to say ' good-bye,' as it may be a 
very long one. At the present rate of officers falling there is 
mighty little chance of coming through. They seem to be 
dead-marking all our officers, and that is why we shall need 
every available man before we're finished. God bless you 

" Your affectionate brother, 

" Dick. 
" P.S. — Remember me sometimes." 

On rejoining the troops he was again put in command of the 
Brigade Snipers. Writing home on April 3, 1916, he says : 

" I am still with the 51st Brigade and like them very much. 
General Piicher sent for me the other day and told me he thought 

224 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that great credit was due for the way in which we had got 
under the evening sniping on our front. They had the best of 
it to begin with, but we have only had two men hit by snipers 
since we came in (though we have had many hit by shells and 
shrapnel-fire), and they were both on the first day, and we have 
knocked over thirteen of them. There is a lot of shelling going 
on. I am at present working under Lord Dunmore. 

" We have a man coming out to stay with us who will have 
some money to spend on the men for games and things. We 
shall be glad of his help. Yesterday the Editor of the West- 
minster Gazette and his wife came out to visit our camp. He was 
very much struck with all our arrangements, and he is starting 
a fund in his paper for providing amusements and games for our 

" Did I tell you that General Maxwell called me out and 
thanked me personally for the assistance which the Major told 
him I had given him ? I was rather bucked, though I don't 
know that I have done anything particular here. . . . 

" General Woodhouse has been round to inspect the Com- 
pany. He congratulated the Major and the staff on the ' splen- 
did work done in camp and the tone of the men ' (his own 
words), so we feel rather pleased about it. 

" One of the doctors and I are digging in our spare time a 
6 X 6 X 6 ft. sunk pit for an officers' bath-tent. The ground is 
gravel and flint, so it takes some getting through." 

In May, 1916, Captain Benton writes to his friend. Major 
TuUock : 

" Hd. Qn. 51st Imp. Bgde., 

"21. 5. 16. 
"... I have been trying to write to you for quite a long 
time but have had no chance. You may guess what it has been 
like when I tell you that I was thirty-one days in the trenches 
at the final." 

Then, evidently referring to some leave he might have had, 
but did not take, he continues : 

" I did not want to be away, as the Boches attacked on each 
side of us, and as we were expecting to be relieved it seemed 
likely they would have a go at us. However, they made a 

Rev. W. Benton 225 

miss. We came straight out and did a four days' march here, 
had twenty-four hours' rest, and are now doing eleven days' 
intensive training for ' the attack.' After that nobody seems 
to know what will happen. . . . 

" I am glad the sniping is going on so well in the north and 
west. The more I see of it out here the more I am convinced 
that in normal trench-warfare there is no better way of inflicting 
punishment on the enemy, and preventing wastage in our own 
ranks, than well-organised sniping, but it must be whole- 
heartedly taken up or not at all. 

" In this Brigade we began a little doubtfully. They only 
allowed eight per battalion for sniping and observation. Later 
they allowed four more and later again another four, making 
eight snipers and eight observers per battalion. Later I asked 
again for four more snipers and got them, at the same time 
propounding a scheme with coloured maps showing sniper- and 
observation-posts in the zones of fire and observation, and 
offered, if they would let me have four more men per battalion, 
to keep the whole front watched and leave every other man 
free for duty, work, or what not. It was granted, so we now 
have one officer and twenty-four N.C.O.'s and men per bat- 
talion. These we used half in the trenches for eight days and 
half out. The half out practised shooting during the day on a 
range we had made, and then came up at night for four hours to 
build sniper- and observation-posts. The half in the trenches 
kept watch and shot day and night. 

" Later on I hope to get the scouts for night work, patrols, 
etc. Our bag at the finish was seventy-one men hit (including 
three jaegers and five other snipers), forty-four plates smashed 
or perforated, one hundred and twelve periscopes — these make 
excellent practice for our men, and they came on wonderfully 
and seldom missed one if it showed during the last couple of 

" The trenches we took were in a pitiable state and a mere 
death-trap. Wherever you went if you looked round you could 
see the Boche lines looking right down into you. The com- 
munication trenches were very little waved, and wide enough 
to drive an eighteen horse-power along. The Brigade worked 
marvellously. The men in rest only had twenty-four hours for 
a night and a halt, and then up again. Three companies from 


226 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

each battalion every night for work. The amount of sheer 
earth shifted was colossal. We left the trenches with a parapet 
in front varying from eight to thirty feet thick in front, the 
close supports and subsidiary lines all built up and revetted, 
five strong localities in front line almost crump-proof, the 
communication trenches narrowed, curled, and revetted, and 
generally the whole place in a strong defensible state. The 
Corps Commander gave his opinion that the 17th Division had 
done fine work, and especially the 51st Brigade, but the best 
comment came from the C.R.A. 

" I met him one day at the 4.5 howitzer battery, and was 
telling him of a beastly village over against us in the enemy 
lines which looked right down into us and worried us day and 
night with machine-guns, snipers, fixed searchlights, and in 
which the Boches could move about at will to annoy us. He 
could not be convinced that it was necessary to strafe it down, 
so I asked him if he would come along our front line and I would 
convince him. At first I thought he would put me under 
arrest for cheek, but eventually he consented. It was the 
funniest thing to see him. I would take him along a few yards 
under cover of the front-line trench and then step him back 
about two yards from it and tell him to look round and then he 
was looking bang up at this village. ' Oh, Lord ! ' he would 
say, and duck under like smoke. This happened all along the 
line, and he was very much convinced, and when we got back he 
promised he would do his best to get all the heavies turned on 
and level it. They had levelled every brick that was anywhere 
near our lines, and so I pointed out this unfair advantage. 

" On our return he remarked on the amount of work done, and 
asked how long it had taken and how many pioneer battalions 
we had to help. When I told him none he would not believe 
it, and when finally convinced said, ' Well, all I can say is it's 

" My wound is all right again, though I felt the shock from 
it a bit. You should not blame me for not having come home 
for a week or two, but about that time the work was very heavy 
and some of the youngsters lately out from home were doing 
nothing but wish for Blighty. By good fortune I got a chance 
of correcting them, and naturally took it, and my lecture has 
been successful. I have heard less of Blighty since. 

Rev. W. Benton 227 

" It was hard lines to be moved when we had got the hon's 
share of the work done ; however, the incoming troops will 
benefit. The weather is very hot now and a little trying for 
intensive training. 

" Yours to a cinder, 

" Dick Benton." 

The next letter I have before me was written to Mrs. Benton 
by Major Magnay, 12tli Batt. Manchester Regiment. 

" B.E.F., France. 

" August 8, 1916. 

" Dear Mrs. Benton, 

" Just a short note to tell you that your husband 
was wounded the other day. He asked me to write to you if 
things went wrong. I am afraid he has gone through most of 
the torments of Hell, but I consider him the most gallant 
gentleman in the world. He knew absolutely no fear. On my 
orders he went forward to try and reorganise after an attack 
which had failed. Whilst on the front line he saw a wounded 
man trying to crawl back from near the German trenches. He 
at once went out to help him. He got him back some way 
when both were hit by snipers, your husband in the right leg 
below the knee. He got into a shell-hole. He was wounded 
about 5 a.m. I sent four parties out to try and get him in, and 
two other battalions sent out patrols at my request to bring him 
in, but they could not find him, and when they shouted they 
drew bombs and machine-gun fire and several men were hit. 
Next morning your husband showed himself, and two officers 
went out at about twelve, noon, and brought him in. I cannot 
tell you what a relief it was to me to see him again. I have 
known him only for three or four weeks, but in that time I 
have come almost to worship him for what he is, and that is the 
finest and manliest man I have ever known. 

" I am desperately sorry to have to tell you that he is 
wounded, but I am sure that you will be relieved to have him 
safe at home under any conditions. I am very sorry to lose his 
services and only wish I had him with me when we go back into 
the fight. 

" With kindest regards, 

" Yours sincerely, 

" P. W. Magnay (Major):' 

228 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

This was followed by a letter from the Chaplain : 

" 36 C.C.S., B.E.F., France. 
" 17 August, 1916. 
" Dear Mrs. Benton, 

" It is with the deepest regret I write to let you know 
that your dear husband, Capt. W. Benton, passed away about 
2 o'clock this morning. I have been in close touch with him since 
he was admitted here on the 6th, and he was always so grateful 
for my ministrations. He received Holy Communion two or 
three times, and I read and prayed with him almost every day. 
I was with him till twelve o'clock last night, and he was then 
sinking fast, and the night nurse tells me he passed peacefully 
away about 2 a.m. During the first few days after being 
admitted we had such pleasant conversations. He told me of 
his ministerial work and his chaplaincy before he took a com- 
bative commission. It is a comfort to know he died not only 
a good and brave soldier of the King, but as a good soldier of the 
King of Kings. 

" Please accept my sincere sympathy in your very sad loss, 
and I pray God may comfort and sustain you. 

" Yours sincerely, 

" C. A. Adderley, C.F." 

And so this wonderful man, who had ministered to many, 
was ministered unto, at the last, as he passed peacefully and I 
feel sure happily away ; and can we doubt that if we could 
render his welcome in the other world into language we can 
understand, it will have been, " Well done, thou good and 
faithful servant " ? 

In the last letter Captain Benton wrote to his wife after his 
leg had been amputated he says : 

"... I got a smack on my right leg which broke it up a 
bit and I had to have it amputated, as it got septic, as I was 
left out and could not move to get in for a day or two. ... I 
always thought if I got one on the right side it would be a 
warm one. Love to all. Cheery oh ! . . ." 

Major Magnay writes again, dated August 25, 1916 : 
"... I cannot tell you how deeply I sympathise with you 
in your great loss. . . . He was so brave and cheery all through. 

Rev. W. Benton 229 

The doctor sent me a note saying what a magnificent fight for 
hfe he made, as we knew he would, but that the septic poisoning 
got the upper hand at last. ... I made him my second in 
command (though really he was far more fitted to command 
the battalion than I). He often spoke to me of you when we 
were alone together, and he left me a note at last asking me to 
write to you, as he cared for you so much. . . . Perhaps this 
letter may make your grief even harder to bear, but I only 
wished you to know that although I am a stranger I too share 
your loss, and that his place in the battalion can never be 

" If ever I can be of the least service to you I hope that you 
will remember that I was his friend. 

" Yours sincerely, 

" Philip Magnay (Major), 

" Commanding 12th Manchester Regt." 

At the time these letters were written breaking the news to 
his wife, much was still unexplained of how it all happened. 
Sitting peacefully at home it is difficult to grasp all the confusion, 
turmoil, and surroundings of a battlefield. I have seen something 
of it and know that often, for some time, it is not possible to 
gather up and connect the threads of the battle's happenings. 
I have heard since that while gallantly rescuing a wounded man 
who was trying to crawl back from No-Man's-Land, Captain 
Benton was severely wounded while carrying the man on his 
back. The enemy snipers had exactly got the range ; besides 
wounding Captain Benton they shot the man on his back dead, 
and the man at his side helping to support the rescued. Captain 
Benton then crawled into a shell-hole with a wounded left arm 
and right leg. There he remained unconscious for two daj^s. 
When found he was brought into the dressing-station, being then 
in a serious condition. Two operations were performed in hopes 
of saving his leg, but it became necessary to amputate it, and 
after this he died. He had previously been wounded three 
times ; the fourth was fatal. 

There were many people who considered Captain Benton 

should not have undertaken combatant service, but remained a 

• chaplain. Whether it is right or not for clergy to fight is a much 

discussed question. There are strong points both for and 

230 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

against, and I think that in whatever capacity Captain Benton 
was employed he would always be working for the God of Hosts 
whom he found among the lepers on Robben Island. The 
echoes left in the many valleys where Captain Benton wandered 
are haunting and pleasant, being full of hope and encourage- 
ment to other wanderers. His moral courage was remarkable, 
born of deep religious conviction and an enthusiastic and 
emotional nature which enabled him to lead where many 
would have hesitated. In the trenches he would kneel 
down, whether muddy or dry, and say his prayers out loud, 
hoping that perhaps others might join in and find help or 
comfort in prayer. 

A memorial service and requiem for the repose of the soul of 
Captain Benton was held in the parish church at Bearsted, where 
the dead soldier-priest had worked during the incumbency of 
the Rev. T. G. Lushington of Sandling Park, Maidstone. The 
church was packed with people who were anxious to pay a last 
tribute to the Padre's memory. 

The service was well arranged and impressive. The band 
of the Royal Engineers (from a camp near) and their choir took 
part in the service. Gounod's " Berceuse " was well played as 
an opening voluntary by the band. 

Mr. Lushington, vicar and rural dean, preached a touching 
sermon, choosing as his text, " Now there are diversities of gifts, 
but the same Spirit." After speaking of the great work done 
by Captain Benton as priest and soldier, he told the congregation 
that " an officer going into the War Office not long ago said, 
' The bravest man I ever came across was a man called Benton,' " 
and the man who said it did not know he was speaking to one 
of Benton's friends. Other officers who had known the man 
they mourned had said he earned, if he did not win, the Victoria 
Cross some five or six times and the D.S.O. some twenty times. 
The preacher confessed he regretted it when his friend decided 
to give up his work as a chaplain for that of combatant officer, 
but he could not condemn that choice after such magnificent 
testimony. If there were some who did not approve of all his 
methods they knew that a great man had fallen — a man cast in 
no usual mould, but that heroic mould in which the world's great 
princes Avere made, a fearless self-sacrificing spirit. 

At the end of the service the congregation remained standing 

Rev. W. Benton 231 

while the combined choirs led the singing of the Nunc Dimittis, 
after which bugles at the church door sounded the Last 

Major Magnay, who wrote such kindly letters to Captain 
Benton's widow, was killed in action soon afterwards. 

Chapter XVII 

The Rev. Hon. Maurice Peel — Vicar of New Beckenham — As Army Chaplain 
— Bravery at Festubert — Receives Military Cross — ^V^'ounded in Three 
Places — Home on Sick Leave — In Bethnal Green Slums — East End Children 
— Their Holidays — Not always Happy — Starving amidst Plenty — The 
Vicar's Views of Social Intercourse — Vicar of Tamworth — London " Peelers' ' 
— Back to the Front — With the Stretcher-bearers — Where the Shells Fell — 
Bar to Military Cross — On the Anniversary of Festubert — A Sniper's Kullet 
• — Missing — A Plucky Priest — A Morning Post Notice — The Rev. Briggs 
Gooderham in the Ranks — Receives a Commission — An Unexpected German 
Shell — A Farewell Meeting — Homely Language — A Mild Reproof — The 
Dublin Easter Riots — Trench Experiences — Loss of Self-control — Reason 
Tottering — A Vaster Pity — Lines by Captain Colwyn Phillips — ^The Rev. 
Percy William Beresford — From Curate to Commanding Officer — 
AndD.S.O. — Influencing the Young — Life's Finger-posts — Forming a Cadet 
Corps — Deplorable Ecclesiastical Bigwigs — Many Battles — Wounded — 
Gassed — The Adjutant's Graphic Picture — " Fine Death for a Beresford " 
— The King's Condolences — *' Carry On." 

IT is difficult, among the many brave men who have given 
their Hves in this war, to know which to write about, each 
and all having their own special interest. Most have died 
while rescuing the wounded, the Rev. and Hon. Maurice Peel 
amongst the number. He was the youngest son of the first 
Viscount Peel, Speaker in the House of Commons. 

Mr. Peel was vicar of New Beckenham just before the war, 
and a little book has been written to his memory by his suc- 
cessor, the Rev. G. V. Sampson, who has given it the title of 
" A Hero Saint." 

At all times Mr. Peel was a modest, unpretentious man, almost 
too depreciative of his own powers and certainly of his own 

When in 1914 the world was convulsed with the news of war 
between our country, utterly unprepared ^ — and with a hopelessly 
inadequate army^ — and an enemy that had been preparing for 
" the day " for many years, Mr. Peel was among those who at 
once volunteered to go out as chaplain, and was promptl}^ 
attached to the 7lh Division in France. All say that he was 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 233 

devoted in his attentions to the sick and wounded, and was 
wounded in several places while attending the sick at the Battle 
of Festubert and obliged to return home. 

As I have already stated, before taking up his military 
chaplaincy he was vicar of St. Paul's, Beckenham, before that 
rector of Wrestlingworth for about three years. Before that 
again, and after leaving Oxford, he worked in the slums of 
Bethnal Green, being ordained in 1899. 

To a sensitive man of considerable refinement the plunge 
from Oxford amidst the leisured classes to the squalor of Bethnal 
Green, while being most satisfying to his spiritual aspirations 
and longing for earnest work in the cause of God and poor 
humanity, must have been trying to him in many ways. His 
sympathies must have been divided and torn into fragments, 
his olfactory nerves tried to the utmost, and his big heart 
damped by the vastness of the field for work. 

Some temperaments would have felt this less keenly than he 
did, for at all times he mistrusted himself and his powers, fearing 
he did not make the most of his opportunities and thinking he 
•might have won more souls by better work. 

Perhaps Mr. Peel was not a great preacher ; they are few 
and far between ; but he was intensely sympathetic and gentle, 
which, if he could only have realised it, carried as much, or more, 
weight than much fine oratory. 

When first he went to work in the East End he found the 
church empty, schools neglected, and things in general at sixes 
and sevens. How Mr. Peel faced it all with his very indifferent 
health I cannot think. He took great interest in the Church 
Lads' Brigade founded in 1896, and being anxious to make 
himself thoroughly proficient in drill so as to undertake the 
management of one of the clubs, he had a regular course of 
instruction which qualified him to pass as battalion officer. 
He said it was necessary for a commander to inspire both small 
and large boys with a proper mixture of love and fear. 

Unfortunately Mr. Peel's health obliged his giving up the 
East End work, but he had the satisfaction of leaving all church 
and parish matters on a sounder footing, churches full and 
schools full. 

Then followed three years in Bedfordshire amid healthier 
surroundings, while rector of Wrestlingworth and vicar of 

234 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Eyeworth. Lord Peel was patron of the latter, and the vicar 
was still spoken of as " Master Maurice." 

The East End children were not forgotten, and parties of 
them were invited for a week or two's change into the country. 

We always think slum children would love the country and 
that we are being very kind in having them for a while from 
their dirty, squalid homes ; but this is not always the case. I 
have known the little cockneys utterly miserable and lonely 
away from their gutters and orange-peel ; they would rather 
play with a treasured and battered old sardine-tin in puddles 
caused by pails of dirty water thrown out into the street, than 
have a clean face, clean clothes, and be told to play in a field of 
golden buttercups where terrifying cows and sheep are feed- 
ing. They miss the crowds and noise, miss the swearing of 
drunken men, miss the scraps of food they love, the floating 
pieces of orange-peel, odd lettuce-leaves and rotten fruit thrown 
from the barrows. 

I have known them cry miserably day after day until it was 
time to go home again. A pig wandering down a lane or an 
inquisitive cow coming to look at them in a field caused them 
sleepless nights and horrid nightmares. 

It is disappointing when we have done our best and are 
patting ourselves on the back for taking so much trouble to 
make them happy. I do not suggest all are miserable in the 
country, but I have known quite a number who were, though 
when safely home again, with no possibility of cows and pigs 
coming round the corner, they have talked bravely of their 
experiences ! 

Mr. Peel had no far-reaching schemes by which humanity 
was to be benefited and the country purified until the lion and 
the lamb were lying down together and the country over- 
flowing with the milk of human kindness ; but wherever he went, 
and in every parish where he worked, he took the trouble to do 
what is often overlooked by the clergy, namely, he took con- 
siderable trouble to bring together and introduce people of the 
same tastes and same way of thinking, which resulted in happy 
intercourse and sociability. 

How often we find people starving amid plenty, so to speak, 
because they know nobody who is interested in what appeals to 
them. A man may be fond of reading and be of an enquiring 

[Plwtoyyaph by C. E. Wealc, Victoria lioad, Tamn-orth] 


[Facing p. -Hi. 


Fdctiiy jj. •2'65.] 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 235 

tuiTi of mind, loving books of science; he would be introduced 
by Mr. Peel to another equally interested, so that they could 
study and compare notes together. Again, he would find girls 
and boys longing to taste life and be useful ; he would introduce 
them to people who could help them. A girl wishing to learn 
gardening and how to play tennis would be introduced to others 
who knew how to do both. 

By these tactful and sociable ways his parishes were happy 
and wholesome. He believed in clubs where people could meet 
and exchange ideas, and many club-feasts he arranged in his 
parishes. He realised that if you can make people work they 
will be happy, and given congenial surroundings and congenial 
employment, they are on the high road to being good. 

From Bedfordshire he went to St. Paul's vicarage, Becken- 
ham, where he spent his brief but happy married life, and from 
there to the front, where he was wounded badly in three places 
while carrying the wounded at the Battle of Festubert, and was 
sent home to recuperate. 

When sufficiently recovered he was appointed vicar of 
Tamworth, dear from family associations, and where there 
stands to-day a bronze statue of his grandfather, who repre- 
sented Tamworth from 1833 to 1850, when he died from an 
injury he received by a fall from his horse. The London police 
received the nickname of " Peelers " owing to his having 
reorganised the force while Home Secretary. He was a man 
much respected, and of whom Wellington said, " I never knew a 
man in whose truth and justice I had more lively confidence." 

At Tamworth Mr. Peel worked happily, and quickly gained 
the affections of his parishioners, but during the early part of 
1917, when the great offensive was imminent and he heard the 
men in his old division were asking for him, he rejoined the 

At no time in his life was he what might be termed a robust 
man, and his endurance at this time was remarkable. Directly 
he returned to the front he found himself in the thick of the 
fighting once more, and remained for thirty-six hours without a 
moment's rest with the stretcher-bearers on the advanced 
patrol, never for one second thinking of himself but only of 
the men. Wherever a shell fell he ran to see who wanted help. 
He received a bar to his Military Cross for his devoted services. 

236 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

and while all his people at home were being congratulated, 
came the news he had been killed while tending the wounded at 
Bullencourt — truly Christ-like, for he died to save, 

A letter from the Rev. Eric Milner- White, the senior chap- 
lain at the front, gives some account of his last days on earth. 
It appeared in the booklet entitled " A Hero Saint," compiled 
by the Rev. Gerald Sampson. 

"... I write as senior chaplain of the Division to tell you 
first what a tremendous loss he is to the Division and his brother 
chaplains ; next, to give you all the details that are clear as to 
his death and burial ; and last, though not least, to convey to 
all you who love him our reverent sympathy and our fellow-pain. 

" Maurice (we all called him by his Christian name) was the 
greatest chaplain in France ; none could be greater. His own 
' immortal ' Division used to call him ' the bravest man in the 
Army.' He always accompanied his men into the line. Wher- 
ever a shell burst he at once ran towards it, lest any man had 
been hit and he might be of service. The men, of course, 
worshipped him. . . . When he came back to us in January he 
did not rest on the laurels gained so desperately on Festubert 
field. He nerved himself to greater efforts of mercy on the 
battlefield and went everywhere regardless of risks, wherever 
a wounded man lay. ... At dawn on the 15th, the second 
anniversary of Festubert, he got out of his trench to visit either 
a wounded man or an isolated post of men. On the wa}'^ a 
sniper's bullet caught him in the chest ; he fell unconscious and 
died very shortly, one Welsh Fusilier officer crawling out and 
staying with him till the end. 

" That same night one of the chaplains, McCalman, with 

great courage went up to B with a cross, hoping to bring in 

the body and bury it. Arrived within a few yards, he was not 
allowed to go further, the risk being too great." 

The little notice in the Morning Post when Mr. Peel's death 
became known struck me as very charming. The writer had 
instinctive and sympathetic knowledge of the soul-searching 
moments when men are going into battle. I feel I cannot do 
better than quote the words : " When the solemn moments 
arrive and the men are waiting in tense and poignant expecta- 
tion, though there may be many a joke, there is alway.i a great 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 237 

seriousness. I love the picture painted to me of the late Maurice 
Peel, chaplain to a battalion of a great Welsh Regiment. As 
they stood in the trenches waiting for the attack, that peerless 
man sent messages along the line giving them the great courage 
of purpose . . . his last message, ' The Padre says, Jesus said, 
" I am with you always," ' and then over the top to death or 
glory, and among the dead was the gallant Padre." 

One of the nicest things I ever heard said of Mr. Peel was that 
he had the purity of heart and purity of life of a good woman. 

The Rev. I. J. R. Briggs Gooderham is yet another name to 
add to the list of the younger clergy who in the face of opposition 
carried out what they believed to be their duty in enlisting in 
the combatant ranks. From the commencement of hostilities 
Mr. Gooderham v/ished to take his share of the fighting, and 
embraced the first opportunity that offered. He afterwards 
received a commission and was in charge of a machine-gun 
section at the time of his death. Before the war he was a 
curate at Christ Church, Crouch End. The young men of his 
congregation were fired by his example and many also enlisted. 

Mr. Gooderham's life was a very brief flight through the 
world. He was left an orphan when quite a small boy, and was 
brought up by relations. His first school was at Alnmouth, a 
small seaside village near Alnwick. Later he went to Durham 
School and then on to Caius College, Cambridge, followed by 
the Ripon Theological College, and was ordained in 1912. His 
first and last curacy was at Crouch End in the North of London, 
where he worked until November, 1914, when he enlisted. In 
1915 he was given a commission in the 3rd Royal Irish Regiment 
and later joined a Machine Gun Company, and in October, 
1916, went to France, but was only granted a very little while 
to serve his country, being called to Higher Service on December 
12, 1916. 

His sister says he was not a sporting parson in the usual 
acceptance of the term, but was most sporting in the best sense 
of the word, as he gave up his position in the Church, his home, 
everything to join the army. He could not bear to sit at home 
and let others fight for him. 

His end is described by his Commanding Officer to the aunt 
who brought him up. 

238 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" The death, which was caused by a large German shell, was 
unexpected, as German shells were rare in that part of the line, 
so his last days were quite ordinary. He was in charge of th^ ee 
guns and had just been round them and was talking to some of 
his men and brother-officers. He cannot have been back in his 
dug-out more than a few minutes when the shell came which 
killed him and his servant instantaneously. Both were buried 
in the debris. After much labour we managed to recover both 
bodies, and they have been buried side by side by one of the 
Brigade chaplains. 

" The death of so promising a young officer was a great blow 
to us. He was very popular, his soldierly and cheerful qualities 
being much appreciated, and you have our sincere sympathies 
in your loss of a nephew of whom you may well be proud." 

That Mr. Gooderham's patriotism was approved by the 
people he had worked amongst at Crouch End is vouched for by 
an interesting little ceremony that took place in the vestry 
after evening service on January 10, 1915. 

Mr. Gooderham had been asked to attend this little gathering, 
as the churchwardens wished to present him with a remembrance 
from his friends in Crouch End. 

Having been given forty-eight hours' leave for the occasion, 
he arrived in the vestry for the first time as a soldier of the 
King, having travelled up from Felixstowe in uniform. No 
notice of the meeting had been given except in church, but a 
whisper had got abroad and the gathering was a representative 
one, comprising people of all ages. 

The vicar spoke a few kind words, saying he had been very 
fortunate in his curates, all of whom had possessed distinctive 
qualities. Mr. Gooderham had made but a brief stay at Crouch 
End, but many would never forget him, his singleness of mind 
and unvariable amiability being particularly attractive. He 
trusted his late curate would return from the war safe and 
sound, and be able to resume his career as a minister of the 
Church of God. Some letters were read that had come from 
subscribers to the parting present, which was a pair of good 
field-glasses. One man, who had been a contributor, said he 
had never met anyone who came so near to his conception of an 
ideal Christian. Many said their thoughts and prayers would 
follow him. 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 239 

Mr. Gooderham was naturally pleased, but told those present 
he did not recognise himself in the language that had been used, 
as he was very conscious of many deficiencies. There would 
always be a warm place in his heart for Christ Church, Crouch 
End, and he hoped to meet them all again in times of peace. 

The Rev. C. J. Sharp, a former vicar of Christ Church, speaks 
of Mr. Gooderham's character as one of delightful frankness, 
and that he was liked by all for his lack of professional aloofness. 
'* His unconventionality was to me one of his greatest charms." 

Mr. Sharp was with him once when a lady complained of not 
receiving an earlier visit from the clergy. " Why did you not 
grouse ? " replied the curate. 

Another lady he told that he did not visit her as he saw her 
in her window every morning. 

Once he took the vicar's place at a United Prayer Meeting 
presided over by the Wesleyan minister. All were delighted 
with the address and prayers of the curate that they thought 
looked little more than a boy. 

During Mr. Gooderham's Cambridge days, when studying 
theology he parted with some of the beliefs of his childhood, 
beliefs still treasured in many pious households, especially 
amongst those who do not reason. He chose to prepare for 
ordination under the guidance of Mr. Major at Ripon. He was 
the third young clergyman who was trained there to fall in the 

There seem to have been quite a number of people who 
predicted Mr. Gooderham would come back no more from the 
front, his vicar amongst them. Why, I do not know, unless the 
depressing accounts in the daily papers and the long Roll of 
Honour lists got upon their nerves. 

It was some time after enlisting before Mr. Gooderham went 
to the front. At first he was on the East Coast, then as an 
officer of an Irish Regiment at Dublin. He was there when the 
Easter Rebellion took place, waiting, and stationed about fifteen 
miles out of Dublin with his machine-guns in readiness for 
immediate action should it prove necessary, as the rebels were 
believed to be in some strength between them and the city. 

From a hill near they watched the flames which told them 
what was taking place in Dublin. He must have been longing 
to turn his guns on to those responsible for those flames. 

240 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

His desire to see some active service was gratified at last, for 
directly he landed in France he went into the firing-line, where 
he almost at once met his death. 

In a letter to his late vicar which he wrote from the firing-line, 
he spoke of Donald Hankey, whom in some ways he resembled. 
He had been reading an article of his in the Spectator entitled 
" Do not Worry," which he thought very fine and true. Like 
the writer of whom he spoke, he was without fear and died quite 
happily and cheerfully at his post, trusting in God's mercy. 

It is heartbreaking to think what it must be to some of our 
boys straight out from home, where they have been sheltered 
from all things hurtful and unpleasant, suddenly plunged into 
scenes of carnage, bloody human shambles, the earth rocking 
with vibrations of the ceaseless guns, the bursting of shells and 
the cries of agony all around. Small wonder that it turns the 
brains of even experienced soldiers who have been in many a 
battle ; but hitherto the world has never seen battles that are 
now the daily bill-of-fare for our troops. 

A letter I received from a very young and near relation of 
mine in 1915, written from one of those stormed trenches, gives 
some idea of what our boys experience. 

" No one place is safer than another in the trench, as these 
great shells dig out the entire section of trench they hit, and 
bury everything and everyone under tons of earth. At the end 
of the day there are hundreds of yards of trench that could only 
be traced in the ground. Quite early in the day my pack and 
equipment were blown to nothingness. 

" So the endless days wear on. Survivors rushing to the 
places where the last salvos had burst, where the half-buried 
and crushed were shrieking hoarsely for help, digging frenziedly 
with tools and hands like dogs, in their efforts to release the men 
before they were suffocated. 

" If you found legs sticking out of the earth you pulled at 
them ; if there was any response you tried to pull them out, but 
if they made none you presumed they were dead, and dug 
where you could be some use. 

" An oldish grey-looking man near me who had been quietly 
chuckling to himself and drawing figures in the mud with his 
finger, suddenly gave yells of laughter and sprang out of the 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 241 

trench before anyone could save him. He ran about, jumping and 
shouting, until he fell riddled by the machine-guns that had been 
sweeping up and down in the hopes of catching unwary heads. 

" Just before that I had to tell off an orderly to look after a 
man whose hand had been shot off, who was trying to do just 
the same thing. 

" It must be impossible for you to realise how people can lose 
their control like this, but that is because you cannot go by the 
standards of human experience that held before the war. 

" These things are quite beyond human experience of 

" It is an extraordinary sensation to feel your reason totter- 
ing and your self-control slipping. It is a real, almost physical, 
sensation. You feel it slipping as plainly as the first quickening 
glide on a switchback at Earl's Court, and the effort to hold on 
is as real as gripping the sides of the car as it plunges forward. 

" I think everyone has had to build up a dual personality. 
For instance, take the universal phenomena out here of the man 
who at home would certainly not have made a hearty meal had 
it been served to him in a well-stocked mortuary, but because 
you see him now eating jam and biscuit amid appalling human 
wreckage, it does not mean that he has been brutalised ; on the 
contrary, he is now, and for always, a far sadder man with a 
vaster capacity for human pity than he ever knew before. 

" A prolonged bombardment has a great physical effect, too. 
Your hands become slow and stiff as if they were very cold, and 
you become slow and stupid. If you see two or three men 
having a meal together afterwards you notice this at once." 

Think what all this must be to the gentle heart and mind of 
a man who could, for instance, write the following lines to one 
he loved when in those ghastly trenches surrounded with 
unutterable things. 

I love thee as I love the holiest things, 

Like perfect poetry and angels' wings, 

And cleanliness and sacred motherhood, 

And all things simple, sweetly pure and good, 

I love thee as I love a little child, 

And calves and kittens, and all things soft and mild, 

Things that I want to cuddle and to kiss 

And stroke and play with, dear ! I love you Hke this. 

And best of all I love thee as a friend, 

A fellow-seeker of a mutual end. 


242 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

These lines were written by Captain Colwyn Phillips of the 
Royal Horse Guards. He was the eldest son of Lord St. David, 
and he was killed in action at Ypres. 

It is not without parallel in this war for a country curate to 
become a commanding officer of his battalion, or a D.S.O., and 
no one was surprised, though all were glad, when Lieutenant- 
Colonel the Rev. Percy William Beresford was awarded that 
honour, for Beresfords from the days of Agincourt and before 
that have been famous for their gallantry. - 

What the exact relation was between Colonel Beresford and 
the Waterfords I do not know, but his sister tells me they belong 
to the elder branch of that family ; the late Judge William 
Beresford was his grandfather. By my brief sketch of his life 
it will be seen how he became a cleric and a soldier. 

Rossel School and Magdalen College, Oxford, were responsible 
for his education. He was much liked at both. The head- 
master of his school described him as a boy of unusual culture 
and wider reading than most. Sir Herbert Warren spoke 
warmly of his life and influence, and especially of his gentleness. 

When at Oxford he worked, which is not a universal habit of 
university students. He passed well in classics and hoped to 
take Orders, but family reasons prevented him entering the 
Church at that time, and as his father's health was failing he 
entered business, which was most distasteful to him ; his heart 
was set on the Church. Nevertheless, he found time to do some 
of the work that was beckoning him. 

During his meditations at Oxford he had become convinced 
of a great truth so often overlooked, namely, that the greatest 
good may be done to the greatest number by influencing the 
young, more especially the youths of our country, and this was 
the great work of his life which he never for a moment let slip 
out of his sight. He was wise enough to see that the physical 
condition of young men is largely responsible for their moral 
condition, and that congenial work is as necessary for their well- 
being as is their food. With this in view, after attending to his 
own business all day, he collected boys and held classes for them 
at night and on holidays, arranged for plenty of healthy exercise, 
games and amusements, during which his influence was be- 
ginning to bear upon them imperceptibly, and they preferred 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 243 

spending an evening with their instructor and genial friend to 
standing at the street corners with their hands in their pockets 
hatching mischief. 

The influence of a kind and judicious friend during those 
impressionable years when standing at the cross-roads with 
life's finger-post pointing in different directions is incalculable 
and may bear fruit for generations to come. At that age they 
can be taught to dislike obscenity, vulgarity, and excess instead 
of thinking it clever and manly. 

Splendid though he was as a soldier, yet it is for his work 
amongst the rising generations that I shall always remember 

As an employer of labour when in business, Beresford also 
took interest in the lives and welfare of his men. In con- 
sequence of the interest he took in their social matters he was 
asked to offer himself as Councillor at Bermondsey. 

In 1902 he went to live at Westerham, in Kent, going by rail 
daily to his work. Here again he interested himself in the 
young men of the place and was founder of the Westerham 
Cadet Corps, the first parish cadet corps in the country, and all 
his spare time was devoted to them. 

It was uphill work at first. Some parents would not allow 
their sons to join. They feared militarism, and disliked " new- 
fangled notions," but they were counting without their chicks. 
At first only about six joined, but they dribbled in by degrees, 
bitten with the idea of being soldiers, and the parents had 
to give in, and very glad before long that they had done so 
when they saw the result of Beresford's efforts, their sons having 
both physically and morally improved. 

The first drill was on Farley Common, and the different 
tone of the boys was soon noticeable. They became smart, 
good-mannered, and respectful, enjoying the training and looking 
forward to the time spent with their instructor, who firmly 
believed that the best possible training and moulding of their 
characters would be a military one, which would impress upon 
them the ideas of patriotism, the duty of self-denial, punctuality 
and discipline, all of which help to build up fine character and 
conduce to efficiency in every walk of life. He felt strongly 
that all military training acted as a sort of national university. 

The cadets admired and respected their instructor ; many 

244 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

regarded him as their best friend, and each cadet who has gone 
out to face the world has carried with him the priceless blessing 
of the influence of a good man upon his life. 

It has always seemed to me that the shadows we cast upon 
those around us form one of our greatest responsibilities. 

At last, in 1905, the wish of his life was fulfilled and he was 
ordained by the Bishop of Rochester, and became curate to 
the Rev. Sydney Le Mesurier, vicar of St. Mary's, Westerham, 
where he was working when war was declared. He at once 
volunteered for service with the troops, his bishop having 
" gladly welcomed " his holding his commission side by side 
with Holy Orders. 

Previously he had held a commission in the 4th Volunteer 
Battalion of the Hants Regiment, and was at the time when 
war broke out captain of the Cadet Corps ; he now joined the 
3rd Battalion of the London Regiment. 

What a pity more bishops have not " gladly welcomed " the 
patriotic spirit of the young clergy who have volunteered to 
fight for right and to enable the dignitaries to sit at home in 
peace ! The prestige of the Church of England has suffered 
through the action of some of its authorities preventing clergy 
of military age from taking their share of warlike activities. 
The attitude of the ecclesiastical bigwigs has been deplorable, 
and if they knew how much their conduct has done to kill 
religious feeling in our hearts it would surely fill them with 
regret. Not all the precious blood of the brave young clergy 
who have lain down their lives can ever obliterate the harm 
that has been done. 

Beresford found he could hold services, attend to the 
spiritual needs of those around him, and still be a man and a 
soldier. His previous experience and his keenness made his 
services the more valuable. 

First Beresford was sent to Malta, then France and Flanders. 
He seemed to have a charmed life, living through three years of 
incessant danger, having taken part in the battles of Neuve 
Chapelle, Festubert, the Hohenzollern Redoubt, Bullecourt, 
Ypres, Givenchy, a place he called the " Duck's Bill," wherever 
that may be — possibly it was only a fancy name invented by 
his regiment, for I do not remember hearing of it before— and 
Poelcapelle, which was the last, on October 26, 1917. A shell 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 245 

burst close beside him and he only lived a few minutes after 
being hit. 

He had not passed through those three years quite un- 
scathed, having been wounded on April 24, 1915, and gassed 
in September of the same year. 

After the April wound he was sent home from hospital to be 
nursed. Westerham was overjoyed to see him again. 

His promotion had followed quickly on his arrival at the 
front, and when he died he was a Lieutenant-Colonel and had 
been mentioned in despatches twice. It was at Bullecourt in 
March, 1917, he won his D.S.O. : " For conspicuous gallantry 
and ability in command of his battalion during heavy enemy 
counter-attacks. The skill with which he handled his reserves 
was of the utmost assistance to the division on his right, and his 
determination enabled us to hold on to an almost impossible 
position. He repulsed three counter-attacks and lost heavily 
in doing so." 

The assistance referred to was given to an Australian 
Division. A most appreciative letter was written by the 
General in command to his next-of-kin, who is his sister, Miss 
Beresford, but it is put away amongst other precious things in 
the bank until the end of the war, so I am unable to reproduce it. 

The Adjutant of his battalion was present when Beresford 
was mortally wounded, and gives a graphic picture of the last 
scene ; and so does Dr. Maude, who was in the same regi- 
ment with him. When Colonel Beresford was hit by a shell 
bursting close to him, he turned to the Adjutant saying, " I'm 
finished — carry on." A painful pause ; then, to the field-doctor 
who went to see what could be done for him, " I'm finished ; 
don't bother about me, attend to the others." A smile lit up 
his pale, handsome, and still boyish face. " Look after my 
sister. ..." A longer pause, and, " This is a fine death for a 
Beresford," and he was gone. 

I have been unable to get many particulars of this time ; 
all where he fell are fighting for their lives, and ours, and much 
that I should like to know I must wait for until happier times. 

Dr. Maude writes, " His work as a commanding officer was 
extraordinary. He never spared himself, and though he worked 
his officers very hard they adored him. It was a pleasure to see 
the terms on which he was with his junior officers. , . . He was 

246 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

a wonderful man and a great soldier, and had he survived he 
must have attained high command." 

All remarked upon his contempt of danger. One evening he 
was sitting on the ground of another Colonel's dug-out reading 
his prayer-book, when a piece of shell landed between him and 
his friend, striking his water-bottle. He went on reading just 
the same without moving, somewhat to his friend's surprise. 
A sergeant accounts for this coolness in a letter to the vicar of 
St. Mary's, Westerham. 

" Dear Sir, 

" Having seen a photograph and a notice of the 
late Lieut. -Colonel Beresford in the daily press and learnt with 
deep regret of his death, I cannot refrain from sending to his 
vicar the tribute of one who had the honour to serve under him 
as a non-commissioned officer and who loved and respe^ied him 
a-; a gallant Christian gentleman. 

" A nobler or better man it would be impossible to find 
among many good and noble men. A soldier every inch. I 
have heard the men discussing his coolness under fire say, ' It 
is his religion that makes him like that.' That is indeed a 
tribute from men who themselves gave very little thought to 
religious matters at that time. 

" When he was gassed at Loos in 1915 he was back to the 
regiment within a week, and I was present at a Celebration of 
Holy Communion at which he officiated, though hardly able to 

" The welfare of his men was ever near his heart. I do not 
think he ever thought about himself. 

" Trusting that you will not consider this letter an intrusion 
on your own grief, 

" I am, sir, 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" Harold Keen. 
" Lately Coy. Q.M.Sgt., 

" l/3rd London Regiment." 

The King sent a letter of sjTnpathy to Miss Beresford. 
dated January 25, 1918. 

A correspondent sent the following to one of the daily papers, 
referring to Colonel Beresford : 

Revs. Peel, Gooderham and Beresford, D.S.O. 247 

" Seven months as chaplain in the regiment of which he was 
in command have left an indelible impression upon my mind of 
one who had a tremendous sense of duty, and I had a great 
admiration for his personal intrepidity, his passionate love for 
the honour of his regiment, and his strenuous life. Yet with it 
all was his sensibility of the fact that he was a priest of the 
Catholic Church. 

" His personal fearlessness was the continued astonishment 
and anxiety of his officers, for (though bearing already two 
wound-stripes on his arm) he never showed the slightest trace of 
fear, and if possible preferred to walk across the open to the 
trenches rather than up a communication trench. I have 
known him stand on the facades of a front line and talk to his 
men. It is surely a striking fact and a lesson to some of us that 
he always found time to say Matins and Evensong, and would 
walk miles with me to the different companies on Sunday." 

He died October 26, aged forty-two years. 

Once when speaking to a friend not far from where he fell, 
he said, " People so often attend church for what they can 
get out of it— a good sermon, you know, or good music. If only 
they came to give instead of to get ! You, for instance, who 
complain that the service is dull, why don't you take something 
with you to make it brighter — cheerfulness, thankfulness, 
humility, any kind of virtue would help ; it would make all the 
difference if you went to give instead of to get." 

Mr. Le Mesurier in the Parish Magazine, soon after Colonel 
Beresford's death, spoke tenderly of him. He felt his death very 
much and liked to think some of the happiest years of his dead 
friend's life had been spent with him in Westerham. Those 
years numbered fifteen — quite a slice out of a man's life. In 
the magazine the vicar said Colonel Beresford was the " soul of 

The Bishop of Rochester said, " Would that I had a 
Beresford in every parish in the diocese." 

This soldier-priest, a D.S.O. and having been mentioned in 
despatches, lies in the Gwalia British Cemetery at Elverdinghe, 
near Poperinghe, and from this quiet resting-place there comes 
across the sea his last message, " Carry on." 

Chapter XVIII 

Father Brindle as Army Chaplain — His Greatest Friends — Homely Expressions 
— The Soldiers' Boast— Who did the Washing ?— Father Brindle Captains 
a Boat — Wins a Prize — Advice to the Soldiers — How they Followed it ! — 
The Taube Responsible — Father Brindle carries Despatches — Saves an 
Awkward Situation — Discipline — Gordon Memorial Service — A Special 
Prayer — Caton Woodville's Picture — Queen Victoria Disappointed — Men- 
tioned in Despatches — Queen Victoria and the D.S.O. — With Lord Kit- 
chener in Egypt — Commanding a Gun-boat — Many Decorations — Father 
Brindle becomes Bishop of Nottingham — A Letter from Kitchener — Letters 
of Appreciation — The Duke of Portland and Father Brindle — A Touching 
Prayer — A Funeral Pageant — The Last Post. 

FATHER BRINDLE was the most famous of army chap- 
lains and the first to receive the D.S.O. for heroic conduct 
in the field, at Atbara in 1898. 

Lord Kitchener was a warm admirer of his, and they died 
very nearly together in the month of June, the younger man 
going first, coffined in the Hampshire, Father Brindle passing 
peacefully away in his bed very shortly after. 

Father Brindle loved the army, and amongst his greatest 
friends were Lord Kitchener, Lord French, Sir Evelyn Wood, 
V.C., and Colonel Kenna, V.C. 

In his book, " From Midshipman to Field-Marshal," Sir 
Evelyn Wood refers several times to his old friend, and always 
in terms of appreciation ; while Lord Wolseley used to say that 
Father Brindle was the bravest man he ever met, and I know he 
tried more than once to get him knighted for his services in the 

The soldiers loved their chaplain, who shared all their 
hardships throughout the campaign, insisting on marching 
every inch that they did ; a pony was kept exclusively for his 
use, but he kept it only for the sick and footsore. 

I remember him in Egypt about that time, and he certainly 
was the most popular man in the expedition that went to rescue 
poor Gordon. I believe, as a matter of fact, he took part in 
nearly all the operations in which the British troops were 

Father Brindle, D.S.O. 249 

engaged from 1882 (when he was the first chaplain to arrive in 
Egypt) to 1886 ; and again from 1896 to 1899, when he resigned 
his chaplaincy. Being thin and aesthetic-looking, the soldiers 
used to marvel at all their Padre could do. 

I think this delicate look stood Father Brindle in good stead ; 
the men felt more grateful to him for his efforts on their behalf 
than they would have done to a big robust-looking man. They 
thought it was so wonderful the way he marched with them, 
even carrying the rifles of those who were played out, and they 
liked the homeliness of some of his expressions. 

A favourite saying of his was, " Do your duty and let the 
rest go hang." His sporting spirit and unselfishness endeared 
him to all. The men used to boast that the Padre had marched 
with them all the way from Fort Atbara to Omdurman. After 
travelling some hundred and ten miles, Metammeh was reached. 
Khartoum lay a hundred miles beyond, but neither the scorching 
sun by day nor the frosts at night deterred him, one of his 
convictions being that the functions of a military chaplain were 
more efficacious when discharged by example than by any 
amount of preaching or precept. 

Smartness hardly seems a suitable term to apply to a Roman 
Catholic priest, yet it was really applicable to Father Brindle. 
No matter the time, place, or work to be done, he always 
appeared clean and trim ; nobody knew how he managed it, and 
someone whispered that he did his own laundry work. In 
camp he wore white uniform, which was always spotless. When 
going into action he wore ordinary khaki ; both were well-cut 
and made. 

He was present at the battles outside Suakin in 1884, and 
took an active part in the Nile expedition. At the request of 
Lord Wolseley he captained one of the boats of the Royal Irish 
Regiment, and won the prize of £100 for that regiment offered 
by Lord Wolseley to the first boat to reach the end of the river 
journey with the smallest relative loss of supplies. 

General Sir Evelyn Wood described Father Brindle on this 
occasion as " burnt brown with the sun, face and hands covered 
with blisters," and noticed that when he stepped out of the 
boat he was stiff with fatigue from pulling against the fast- 
running water. 

" Father, why are you working so hard ? " asked the General, 

250 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" Oh, to encourage them," was the reply. 

" Any result ? " 

" Very little." 

Sir Evelyn Wood also tells a story about a sermon Father 
Brindle preached in the desert during Lent. Addressing the 
men, he said : 

" Now, my men, I cannot ask you while here on service to 
abstain, but you might do something which would be pleasing 
to the Almighty and will gratify me— abstain from using bad 

Looking into the upturned faces, he hoped from their 
sympathetic expressions that he had effected some good. 

When the parade was over he stood talking for a few minutes 
to some officers, and then while walking behind two of his 
recent congregation, who had evidently not heard his footsteps 
in the sand, he overheard one man say to the other, " I say, 
Bill, that was a b -y fine sermon the Father gave us ! " 

Which reminds me of a Padre in Flanders not long ago who 
likewise had been trying to stop his men from using bad and 
disgusting language, without much result. But one day when 
standing amidst a group of men who had been offending by their 
language, he looked up at a Taube overhead, pointed to it and 
said, " My God, look at that b— — y Taube." 

The men were struck dumb, and instead of looking up at the 
Taube stood staring at the Padre, open-mouthed with surprise 
and horror. 

" Now, my men," said the Padre, " you know what I feel 
like when you use profane and disgusting language." 

The lesson had a marvellous effect. 

In 1886 Father Brindle was present at the battle of Ginnis, 
after which he came home and worked for ten years at Col- 
chester and Aldershot amongst the soldiers. When, however, 
Lord Kitchener organised his expedition to Dongola, he re- 
quested Father Brindle to join the expeditionary force ; this he 
was delighted to do, and distinguished himself by his devotion 
to the sick during the terrible outbreak of cholera that year, and 
during the long wait at Sarras. 

At Dongola he successfully took a gun-boat into action. 

It was during this expedition that he won his D.S.O. Our 
troops came under the fire of some of our own guns, so that it 

Father Brindle, D.S.O. 251 

became necessary to send the gunners an order to prevent them 
inflicting further casualties on our own men. Father Brindle 
took this order to them across open ground that was under a 
heavy fire from the enemy, and was thus able to save rather an 
awkward situation. 

Speaking of the battle of Omdurman, he was full of admira- 
tion of the skilful generalship and tactics of the British com- 
mander, who had told him several months before the event came 
to pass that he would be in Khartoum on September 1st. His 
arrangements had been made with the utmost forethought, and 
they were as complete as skill could make them. He considered 
the organisation at Omdurman wonderful, and said : 

" We found ourselves lined up, British, Egyptians, and 
Soudanese, numbering 20,000 men. All distances had been 
marked, and when the Khalifa's men charged magnificently, as 
they did at the first blush of dawn, we knew the day was 

The story of this battle has been told many times. The 
beating of the war-drums, the onrush of the Dervishes, how 
they rode to the attack and were mown down as they advanced. 

In the advance of our troops Father Brindle was in the 
firing-line. He loved in his own quiet and convincing way to 
relate the incidents of this victory. 

His love for discipline was much appreciated by Lord 
Kitchener, for not only did he impress its necessity on the men, 
but he himself gave implicit obedience to all in authority. 
Once when the troops were making a forced march he remained 
behind. Lord Kitchener sent for him and asked, " Why were 
you not there ? " receiving the reply, " Because, sir, I re- 
ceived no orders." 

After the final wipe-out of the Dervish armies there came the 
memorable entrance into Khartoum and the impressive me- 
morial service. No one realised more fully than Father Brindle 
what that day was to Lord Kitchener : one of bitter regret at 
being too late, and intense joy and gratification at having 
successfully accomplished his task. 

Lord Kitchener felt strangely drawn to Father Brindle on 
this occasion, I know, and was grateful for his tactful sympathy. 

There were three officiating chaplains at the Gordon 
Memorial Service, and a special prayer composed by Father 

252 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

Brindle for the occasion was recited by him, and was printed for 
distribution by Lord Kitchener's orders. 

Mr. W. G. Stevens, describing the service, says, " Snow- 
haired Father Brindle, best beloved of priests, laid his helmet at 
his feet and read the memorial prayer bare-headed in the sun." 

Mr. Caton Woodville painted a picture of the religious 
service in the ruins of Gordon's palace, where every stick and 
stone seemed to throb with painful imaginings of poor deserted 
Gordon's despair. 

When the picture was shown to Queen Victoria she remarked 
to the artist, " But you have forgotten the clergymen ! " She 
evidently expected to see them in full canonicals. It was 
explained to her the clerical garments were not forgotten, and 
that the officiating clergy were in khaki, each one being 
pointed out to her. 

I was talking to a near relative of mine a short time ago 
about the Egyptian campaign and Father Brindle ; they were 
both toiling up the Nile at the same time and knew each other 

He spoke of the priest's charming personality and what an 
idol he was of the soldiers, the amount of work he managed to 
get out of the southern Irishmen who then, as now, were " agin 
all law and order." The same relative told me that when they 
returned to Korti after the desert march he one day saw what 
looked like a battalion parade of an Irish regiment ; on making 
enquiries he was informed it was only the defaulters who had 
been making merry on their return to civilisation. In those 
days it was not considered bad form to drink too much, and the 
regiment had only been doing on service »vhat they were accus- 
tomed to doing in peace. The only reason I refer to this little 
incident, which cost them very dear and is an old story now. is 
because of the astonishing control Father Brindle had over the 
men ; but for him there might have been serious trouble. He 
understood the Irish better than tho majority of we dull Saxons. 

As Father Brindle mounted the scale of the hierarch}; he 
became wonderfully little spoilt, and even as a Bishop his 
charm of manner could be detected, though perhaps of a slightly 
stiff er bearing. 

Father Brindle was mentioned in despatches five times, and 
twice promoted for war service. In addition to hi ; D.S,0. he 

Father Brindle, D.S.O. 253 

won an array of British and Egyptian medals and clasps, as 
well as the Turkish order of the Medjidie and Osmanieh ; he 
was, moreover, the recipient of a '.Good Service Pension," and 
would have had the grants of a civil C.B., but this could not be 
conferred on a chaplain . 

Queen Victoria expressed a wish that he should not wear the 
distinctive decoration of the D.S.O. until she had herself 
personally invested him with it ; he therefore received the 
honour at her hands. 

The prayer-Vjook for Catholic soldiers which has been 
adopted by the War Office was compiled for them by Father 
Brindle, who was at their side during the two fights off Kasassin, 
at El-Teb and Tamai in 1884, up the Nile with them in 1884-5, 
and marched across the Baynda desert to Metemmeh with them, 
and at the decisive action which broke the Dervish power for 
the time being at Wady Haifa. 

I think he was rather proud of Lord Kitchener's faith in 
him when putting him in command of the third gun-boat, which 
had troops on board struggling up the Nile. 

It will be interesting to Catholics and others to know 
what all the brave show of medals on Father Brindle 's breast 

The British War Medal for Egypt, 1882, with three clasps, 
i.e., Suakin, 1884, El-Teb, Tamai and the Nile, 1884-5, 
Soudan, 1898. 

The Turkish order of the Medjidie (third class) and the 
Osmanieh (fourth class). 

The Egyptian War Medal, 1896-8, with three clasps, i.e., 
Haifa, Atbara, and Khartoum. 

The Khedival Bronze Star, 1882. 

On the morning of Tel-el-Kebir Father Brindle was lying in 
hospital with English cholera, and consequently unable to be 
present with the troops, who missed his cheering presence. 

I have been told he was called the " soul of the regiment." 

In 1899 his long connection with the army ended, and he 
visited Rome, where he was consecrated Bishop of Hermopolis 
that he might act as auxiliary to Cardinal Vaughan, who was 
growing rather infirm. Father Brindle acted as Bishop Auxiliary 
of Westminster until 1901, when he was translated to 

254 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

During the time of his episcopate the Bishop did not appear 
much before the pubUc, but at King Edward's special request he 
instructed Princess Ena for the change of creed necessary on her 
marriage with King Alfonso. 

None will wish to deny that Father Brindle was an ornament 
to his profession, an earnest servant of his Church, a man with 
sporting instincts that appealed to the soldiers, who hke men 
who play the game. His manner was cheerful but dignified : 
a thorough Englishman, not entirely without some of our 
English prejudices, which, however, in no way detracted from 
his lovable character. 

Some of the letters received after retiring from service with 
the army speak of the feeling entertained by the writers for him. 
One from Lord Kitchener when staying at Combe, in Honiton, 
dated October 2nd, runs : 

" My Dear Father, 

" I like this form of address better than your exalted 
title of Bishop. I wonder you did not excommunicate the War 
Office and its contents, including the staff that now rules there ; 
perhaps you had not a bell, book, and candle with you and only 
murmured the formula. 

"As an Irishman I much wish I could come and see your 
Irish friends, but it is a far cry to Liverpool. Next time I stay 
at Knowsley, which I do sometimes, I will see what can be 

" I often look back in memory to the old Soudan days when 
you used to lead the troops across the desert, and wish those 
days back again. 

" I am shortly going back to Khartoum and to shoot up the 
White Nile. 

" I was delighted to get your letter and to feel that you still 
have a kindly remembrance of your old friend. Kitchener." 

This letter shows the affectionate side of Lord Kitchener's 
character, which many people thought did not exist. In a 
measure he was a hard man, and yet I have more than once seen 
that cold frigid manner put on when he was feeling very 

I remember seeing him walk down a room full of people wait- 
ing to shake hands and congratulate him after his success and 

Father Brindle, D.S.O. 255 

i-eturn from Khartoum. He walked down the whole length of 
that big room like a wooden image, shaking hands with first one 
and then another, a cold fixed glitter in his eyes, and never a 
smile. Many thought him ungracious, some even declared he 
was rude and ungrateful and were sorry they had bothered to 
come and greet him. He did not even turn and say something 
gracious, as I hoped he might, when the end of the room was 
reached ; but I knew he was feeling intensely. 

When he was holding himself hard, either in pleasure or 
pain, he used to turn colour. I have known one other man do 
exactly the same. Both used to set their mouths tight and turn 
a pale green-grey, and my heart has ached for these men. 

Part of another letter from a Government official is in- 
teresting : 

" I have still got as one of my most treasured mementos of 
the Soudan campaign a copy of your prayer at Gordon's 
memorial service which you wrote out for me. 

" Do you remember when you walked from Gatacre's camp 
to the Atbara to a dying man in hospital ? I wonder if those 
now under you will ever know what you have done for the 
British soldier." 

A stranger wrote to the Bishop as late as April, 1915, 
referring to the prayer : 

" I never read the words but there is a gulp in my 
throat. . . ." 

How well we can understand the pleasure these letters 
brought to the old priest, how he would read and re-read every 
word, living again in mind, those stirring times. 

One or two other letters referring to the old soldiering days 
are worth notice. One is from the " boots " at the Crown Hotel : 

" Dear Sir, 

" Reading in the paper about your juberlee, I has 
one of the men who went through the Soudan campaign with 
you and used to attend your Sunday evening services. I 
thought you would like to hear from any of ours, for you always 
had a kind word for any of us and if you remember you gave us 
a little book as a present and I cherish that book for you was 
good to us all, it did not matter whether we were Church of 

256 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

England, or Roman Catholics, and I hope God will bless and 
keep you in good health for a good many years to come and we 
all loved you. 

" I remain, one of the late 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 
at present Boots at the Crown Hotel. . . ." 

Again, from a retired Renter's war correspondent : 
"It is now some years since we met at the battle of 
Tamai, when we tried so hard to obtain a few winks of sleep in 
an ambulance wagon which was riddled from top to bottom, 
which disturbed much our comfort and efforts to sleep. I then 
assisted you in helping to relieve the awful sufferings of the 
wounded. ..." 

One more old soldier's letter I would like to quote. 

" Your Holiness, 

" I trust you will excuse me writing to you in this 
manner. I am an old soldier of the Seaforth Highlanders, and 
served with you in the Soudan campaign in 1898. I was 
reading in the Nottingham Guardian of the prize distribution of 
the Robin Hoods, and I saw a face sitting on the left of the 
Mayor that I remembered having seen in the desert. 

" My mind went back to that solitary figure marching in 
front of the British fighting square, the only man outside the 
square except the colour party, and that was Father Brindle, 

" I have taken the liberty of writing to ask the favour of one 
of your photographs to keep in remembrance of you. 

" I have seen a good deal of warfare, like yourself, have four 
war medals and eight clasps, and am very much interested in 
old veterans. 

" I am now the store-keeper at the Coal and Iron 

Company. . . ." 

When failing health obliged Father Brindle to give up active 
work and retire from the See of Nottingham, he went to Mount 
St. Stephens College, near Sheffield, in which he had always 
been interested, and there he ended his days, becoming entirely 
an invalid in March, 1916, and dying in June of the same year. 

Shortly before leaving Nottingham, amongst the many 
letters in his post-bag was one from the Duke of Portland, from 

Father Brindle, D.S.O. 257 

Welbeck Abbey, dated January 30, 1916, in which he said 
how sorry he was to hear that the Bishop was rehnquishing his 
high office in Nottingham, adding, " Though I know I am 
unworthy to say it, yet I should hke to tell you that I am sure 
you are immensely respected and admired as a man, a priest, and 
a soldier. ... I hope you will forgive me for venturing to 
express my feelings." 

When Sir Evelyn Wood heard of Father Brindle's illness he 
at once wrote asking to be kept informed of his condition. 

There were many more letters of interest, all couched in the 
same kindly strain. It is refreshing to find that occasionally 
the good works of individuals are recognised during thdr 

After Bishop Brindle's death rather a touching little prayer 
was found written on the back of one of his old envelopes : 

Dear Lord ! You are my guest to-day, 

And love has made me bold, 
So kneeling at Your feet I pray : 

Give me not years, not gems, not gold, 
Not honour, fame, nor earthly praise, 

Not lengthened years — but fill 
My heart with one desire — always 

To do, dear Lord, Thy Will. 

The funeral was a great pageant. Not before in England 
had a soldier funeral been given to a Bishop. It was impressive. 

The body was conveyed by train from St. Mary's College to 
Nottingham and there transferred from it to a gun-carriage by 
eight non-commissioned officers. Six horses mounted by men 
of the Royal Engineers drew the gun-carriage through a mile of 
mourners. This was followed by three hundred men of the 
Yorkshire Light Infantry and other regiments, one hundred 
and sixty cadets from Mount St. Mary's College, a band with 
draped drums, boy scouts, and mounted police. 

When this procession reached the Cathedral the coffin was 
carried into its dimness and placed facing the High Altar on a 
catafalque of purple and gold, bearing the dead man's coat-of- 

A Guard of Honour was provided by the older cadets of 
Mount St. Mary's College. They stood with reversed arms at 
the four points of the catafalque. On the coffin, draped with 


258 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

the Union Jack, lay the Bishop's mitre, his war medals and 
decorations, including the D.S.O. 

Dr. Bourne, the Cardinal Archbishop, in his scarlet robes and 
archiepiscopal mitre, gave emphasis to the ceremony. He was 
supported by a number of Bishops, including the Rector of the 
English College at Rome, numerous Canons and other officiating 
clergy all taking their places at the High Altar. 

The Requiem Mass was sung and the solemn ritual cul- 
minated in the giving of the absolutions, the sprinkling and 
incensing one by one of the Bishops, and lastly with deep 
impression by the Cardinal himself. 

The music ceased — and in sharp contrast, tearing the wings 
from our emotions and bringing us back to earth, with a crash 
the buglers sounded the Last Post. 

After the service many thousands of people passed the bier 
to pay their respects to a much-loved priest. 

Later in the day the body was lowered into the crypt of the 


[Fact II (J p. 258. 


JS3S*— ' 



Faciiii) ij. -209.] 

Chapter XIX 

Caring for Spiritual Needs — The Salvation Anny — Miss Booth at the Front — 
War Office Recognition — Chaplain Mackenzie and Chaplain Green — With 
Australian Contingent — Waiting for Orders — Hells in Egypt — Captain 
Mac's Endeavours — Off to Gallipoli — Constantinople or Loos — Some 
Printed Leaflets — Grit, Guts, and Gumption — A Husbandy Letter — The 
Chaplain's Post-Bag — Distracted Parents — Missing Son — A Poet Baker — 
Broken-Hearted Sergeant — A Joke in Hospital — Salvationists' Huts — 
Eggs and Tea — Vigorous Prayer Meetings — "When the Devil was Sick" — 
Unspeakable Horrors — Letters from Home — " I Die quite Happy " — A 
Military Cemetery — Wondrous Tommies — Chaplain Mackenzie breaks 
Down — An Inspired Being — Lord French on Salvation Army — Lord Derby's 
Thanks — Admiral Jellicoe's Tribute — General and Mrs. Booth in India — 
Father Bergin at the Point of the Bayonet — On the Eve of Battle — A 
German Pill-Box — A Bursting Shell — Father Bergin Killed — A Quiet Comer 
in Renninghelst. 

THE spiritual needs of the army have been well catered for 
in this war as compared with previous campaigns ; the 
proximity of one of the war zones has made it com- 
paratively easy for all denominations to be in touch with their 

The Salvation Army, that in its early days was so much 
ridiculed, has been well represented ; their ranks and titles make 
it rather confusing to the uninitiated, as both sexes are Cap- 
tains, Majors, Adjutants, etc. Miss Booth, granddaughter of 
the founder of the army, is " Adjutant," and now out at the 
front in France. Their chaplains are not ordained and they 
have no sacraments, but they do fine work, and more than once 
during this war have administered the Holy Communion to 
dying men. 

The Australian Government were the first to recognise the 
work of the Salvation Army to the extent of appointing their 
officers as chaplains on an equal footing with the chaplains of 
the Church of England and other recognised denominations. 
A little later the New Zealand and the Canadian authorities 
followed suit ; still later the United States authorities ; last of 
all the British War Office has recognised them, and as I write 

26o sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

the first duly accredited and officially appointed officer chaplains 
are preparing to join the troops in France, and they hope to go 
to the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Two of their chaplains that I know of have been awarded 
the Military Cross for general devoted service rather than for 
any special act of gallantry. Captain Chaplain Green, at 
present attached to the headquarters of the New Zealand troops 
in London, was, I believe, the first of the Salvationists to receive 
that distinction while in Gallipoli. 

The other chaplain, Captain Mackenzie, came over with the 
first contingent of Australians and has by them been christened 
" Captain Mac." Yet he is not an Australian, though he 
passionately loves them all ; but, as may be gathered from his 
name, he is Scotch and is proud of his Highland blood and the 
piety of his ancestors. 

In his early youth he had wished to enlist in the Seaforth 
Highlanders, but instead was taken to Australia, where by his 
energy and push he soon found firm foothold. He was deter- 
mined to get on, and quickly began to do so, but Scotland was 
far away and the piety of his ancestors a thing of the past. His 
idea at this time was all self and push ; he meant to make 
money and get on in the world- nothing else mattered. 

Suddenly all his ideals and theories were upset and became 
things of naught ; self and worldly fame lost all value in his 
eyes. The Salvation Army was responsible for this. It so 
happened that what I presume they would call a battalion of 
them were visiting the place where Mackenzie was working ; 
their earnestness appealed to him, he became interested, and 
arrived at the conclusion, after a certain amount of spiritual 
wrestling, that there was better work waiting for him than 
money-making and self-advancement. He had discovered 
hidden away in the lumber-room of his heart a precious thing 
that every man possesses without perhaps being aware of it 
until something happens to bring it to light— namely, his 
religion. The Salvationists having helped him to find it, he 
naturally thought he would like to join them and help others in 
the same way. 

When war broke out he signed on as a chaplain. At that 
time he was a big strong man with a huge voice and abrupt 
manner wliich, however, covers a kind and gentle heart. The 

Chaplain Mackenzie, Salvation Army 261 

Anzacs are fond and proud of him. Every Australian you meet 
will in course of conversation tell you two things — his admiration 
for Captain Mac and his yearning to return home to Australia ; 
but not until they have done what they came for, not until 
they have had their whack ! 

Poor souls ! they had that in Gallipoli, where they faced 
death with such sublime courage and won for themselves 
undying glory out of that tragic failure. 

While waiting in Egypt for orders before proceeding to the 
Dardanelles, the Australians found the truth of the old adage 
that Satan finds mischief for idle hands to do. The mischief in 
this instance lay in the horrible dens which abound in the East, 
where drink of a most poisonous kind and vice walk hand-in- 
hand— veritable hells. In the first instance the soldiers were 
only in search of amusement to pass the time away ; then the 
drink and the amusements provided began to fascinate them. 
Captain Mac tried hard to dissuade the men from visiting these 
places, where the scenes were degrading and the drink poisonous, 
but occasionally they would slip away, only to be quickly 
followed by Captain Mac. To one he would say, " Come away, 
lad ; what would your mother say if she could see you ? " To 
another, " Be a man and come out of this. How will you ever 
face your sweetheart again ? " 

Not content with this, he went to the authorities and asked 
if nothing could be done to prevent the fine healthy lads coming 
to fight for the Mother Country from being led into such 
temptation. Thanks to Captain Mac, much has been done, 
not only for the troops but for Egypt also. 

At last the joyful orders came and they moved on to Galli- 
poli. The men were all eager for a fight ; plenty was awaiting 
them. It hardly bears thinking about. Captain Mac was by 
their side through it all, with the fighting, with the dying, and 
once or twice I have heard that when the Turks became too 
pressing he had something to say to them himself. 

There were calls for Mac everywhere from the Anzacs. 
They admired him for his strength, endurance, and almost 
womanly tenderness. They attended his services, repeating 
the prayers after him word for word, singing his hymns, and 
many of them dying in his arms, mingling their tears and sweat 
with his. They listened for his encouragement when storming 

262 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

the heights, and turned to him for sympathy when told that what 
they had won at such a cost had to be given up again. 

The news that all had to evacuate came as a bombshell, and 
many were the curses on civilian-controlled campaigning. They 
did not know then that a new plan had dawned upon the 
authorities and its name was Loos ! It had been a toss-up 
between Constantinople and Loos, and the latter had won. 
The first to evacuate were the Irish and French divisions to 
Salonika. It is old history now, therefore I presume there can 
be no harm in referring to the curious fact that the Turks did 
not interfere in any way with the evacuation of these divisions 
with the exception of dropping proclamations at 9 o'clock next 
morning to tell the native regiments that they were being left 
behind by their white comrades to have their throats cut. What 
makes this so interesting is that the Turks must surely have 
been printing their leaflets during the time the evacuation was 
in progress, and it throws some light on the complaisance they 
showed during the subsequent evacuations. 

I have some interesting letters dealing with that time, but 
they had better stay in the dark for the present, though it is 
difficult to see how^ what happened three years ago can now be 
prejudicial. It is all part of a very bitter and ignominious past. 

The much-grieved Australians and their Captain Mac now 
went to France, having tasted both victory and bitterness 

To my mind Captain Mackenzie's most charming attribute 
was his passionate love and admiration for the Australians, 
whom he describes as "not merely big men, but men with 
brains, who, though they slouch about when there is nothing to 
do, are altogether different when any business has to be carried 
through. I am sorry for those who get in the way then, for 
nothing stops them but death. Tell them there is a difficult 
job for them to see through, then they are all the three big 
' G's ' put together, as I heard someone express it : Grit, Guts, 
and Gumption. Oh, they are princes — men — great ! " 

He says he loves every mother's son of them, and feels it a 
privilege to be able to do anything for them ; their courage is so 
supreme no one could help loving them. Nerve-shattering 
shells, thundering guns, mud, snow, rain, or general wretchedness 
cannot make them other than cheerful. 

Chaplain Mackenzie, Salvation Army 263 

It is easy to understand Mackenzie's exaltation. He must 
be proud even to be of the same sex. He loves to wait on them, 
do little things for them. I have heard from others what some 
of those " little things " consist of. He has been known to walk 
many miles at the end of a heavy day's work to carry letters of 
importance for the wounded, or fetch some delicacy for a 
patient in hospital. 

The letter-writing for the men is quite a formidable under- 
taking by itself. One of the chaplains — I think it was Captain 
Mac — was asked to write " a real nice husbandy letter " to a 
man's wife ! 

Besides the outgoing post the chaplain's incoming bag is 
generally a heavy one ; everybody feels they can fly to him for 
help. Here are a few requests to be attended to in one day's 
post. An Australian mother writes that she and her son have 
had a bit of a difference ; will the chaplain be kind enough to talk 
to the young man ? Another letter from distracted parents 
asks him to tell them where their son is laid, and will he take a 
snapshot of the grave and send it to them ? A third has heard 
nothing of their only son for a long time ; will the chaplain try 
and find him ? It would be very easy to answer all these with 
a few strokes of the pen, pointing out that amidst the hundreds 
and thousands of killed and missing it would not be possible to 
carry out their wishes. Instead of this they take the utmost 
pains (most of them) to do all they are asked. One of the 
Salvationist chaplains — I am not sure whether it was Captain 
Mackenzie or another — diligently searched for the missing boy, 
and after considerable trouble found him in hospital , where he 
was very comfortable and well looked after. It so happened 
that it was his nineteenth birthday, and being a favourite with 
the nurses and the doctors, a variety of little presents were 
around his bed — flowers, fruit, and other little tokens likely to 
please and cheer him ; but the chaplain was glad the parents 
could not see their boy, for he was terribly disfigured and had 
been wounded in seventeen places. When first he was hit he 
implored his mate to shoot him and put him out of his 

A letter was sent that very day to the parents giving the 
consoling news that their son had been found, was in hospital 
doing well, and a favourite with everybody. Even the hospital 

264 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

cook had been moved into making him a special cake, on the 
top of which in icing-sugar was the following choice poem : 

Private Bunker 
Wasn't a funker 
But was a hero. 

When the chaplain asked the patient if there was anything 
he wanted the youth replied, " Yes, sir, I want some ginger-ale." 
Unfortunately there was none to be had anywhere near, but the 
chaplain trudged through miles of mud and got some for him. 

The chaplains often have to do the censoring of the letters, 
and Captain Mac did his share. He noticed what several 
others have told me, namely, that there are very few in which 
religion is not mentioned in some form or other. 

The Colonel commanding the Salvation Army headquarters 
has given me some delightful stories of the workings of their army 
and their chaplains. Stories of the terrible mud through which 
the men often had to wade when returning to billets : terrible 
sticky mud in which tired, spent men have sunk up to their 
armpits and died. Captain Mackenzie used to go out and meet 
them, to cheer and if possible to help them in . 

The men often begged him not to expose himself to danger 
when not obligatory. He replied, " Boys, I have prayed with 
you and I have preached to you. Do you think I am afraid to 
die with you ? I'd be ashamed to leave you when you are up 
against it hard." 

Chaplains see humanity robbed of all its shams, all its 
veneer, but what they see and hear is sacred, therefore much of 
their work is unknown to the world. They seldom speak of 
their experiences as relating to individuals, but the Australians 
themselves delight in telling stories of their Captain Mac, 
whose sympathy is sought by all, as well as his spiritual aid. 

One big, splendid-looking sergeant coming back from the 
firing-line on the Somme threw himself into Mackenzie's arms, 
sobbing like a child, and saying, " Oh, Mac — Charlie's dead — • 
Charlie's killed ! However shall I tell mother ! " The man's 
brother had been killed at his side. 

The pluck of the wounded is very wonderful. They manage 
to laugh and joke when it might seem impossible. A Salvation 
Army chaplain going into hospital to see a man who had lost 

Chaplain Mackenzie, Salvation Army 265 

both his arms greeted him thus, " Well, I won't offer to shake 
hands with you ! " The poor man laughed heartily — enjoyed 
the joke. 

There is no end to the good work done by the Salvationist 
huts. I have several times heard of soldiers being stranded and 
having asked where they could go for some food and rest, and 
of their having been directed to the Salvation Army shelters, 
where they have been well fed and cared for. I have been told 
it as a fact that in one such shelter as many as one thousand five 
hundred eggs and four thousand cups of tea have been provided 
in one evening. What an undertaking ! 

Vigorous prayer-meetings are also held in these huts ; their 
services are very bright and attract crowds of men, their hymns 
are not gloomy and sad, their choruses have an inspiring lilt. 
In one place where a service was being held a great number 
could not get into the building, though it was a very large one, 
but the men stood outside and joined in the chorus. Speaking 
of this service one of those who had been inside the building 
described it to those outside as this : " The Major he let off a 
slap-up-ding-dong-soul-stirring meeting." 

The ritual of these services is well arranged. They are 
heralded by a band marching up beating drums and trolling 
cheery tunes. An interval is allowed of a few minutes and 
another band comes marching along, perhaps a third on gala- 
days, and each band collects a following ; some come perhaps 
out of curiosity and remain for pleasure and spiritual profit. 

No one can have taken part in this war with its unpre- 
cedented horrors without its having been brought home to 
them that " in the midst of life we are in death " ; the veriest 
scoffer before the war now thinks, as regards religion, that there' 
must be " something in it, after all." 

We have all heard the story of 

When the devil was sick 

'Twas a saint he'd be, 
But when he was better 

Divil a bit of a saint was he. 

This may apply to some of the new religious enthusiasts, but 
I doubt if it will to many, for the experiences of to-day can 
never be forgotten. 

Those who have seen nothing of the horrors of battle cannot 

266 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

perhaps appreciate what the present unutterable human 
carnage has been to some of our boys, straight out from home, 
where they have hved sheltered lives shielded from all things 
hurtful and unpleasant. They quickly cease to be boys — and 
never again can they feel young. The unspeakable horror of 
it all has robbed them of their youth. The world they have 
known is gone from them for ever— a thing of the past ; has 
become like a dream of long ago. 

The only thing that has saved many from going mad has 
been letters from home. I wish this were more realised than it 
is. I wish people realised more what the despair, the hope- 
lessness is, that seizes the hearts of our lads sitting in shelled 
trenches, the earth rocking under them from the thundering 
guns while they are like moths pinned to a cork ; the bodies of 
their pals blown to pieces all around them, and then, poor 
lads, they are sent to collect the discs from amongst the human 
wreckage. Small wonder that home, peace, and beautiful things 
seem very far away. Then it is, that letters from home are 
priceless treasures, letters breathing of love and endless prayers 
for the safety of the recipient, telling of all the homely things, 
the everyday little nothings that seem so great to them now. 
Even the cat having had kittens seems to bring home nearer. 
Next to letters from home, I think the Padres bring most 
comfort to the fighters. 

Miss Booth, of the Salvation Army, takes special interest in 
looking after the graves of the fallen, and lays flowers on 
them for those unable to do so themselves. Many are the 
lonely graves that have been decorated and cared for by her 
kindly hands, where the sleepers have been claimed by none. 

I remember wandering through a cemetery soon after a big 
battle. I was searching for the grave of a brave man whose 
last words had been, " Tell them all at home I die quite happy." 

Many sights met my eyes that made me see everything 
through a mist. It was almost unbearable. The rows and rows 
of white crosses, just a number telling those who cared that a 
young man, barely in his prime, had made the supreme sacrifice, 
before time had been given to him to enjoy half the lovely things 
in life. 

Among the multitude of graves lay love-tokens of every 
description : flowers in jam-pots, artificial wreaths in glass 

Chaplain Mackenzie, Salvation Army 267 

cases, a pathetic little paper cross all gone to pulp, and a little 
further on a poor frenzied woman with arms outstretched over 
the newly-turned earth, crying out that she could not leave him 
" all alone." 

The chaplains all agree the British Tommies are wondrous 
beings, and are at their best when in tight corners. I have 
known them angry and unbearable over trifles in ordinary times 
of peace. I have known them superb and forgiving over cruel 
wrongs — ^dying caked in mud and blood, asking you to leave 
them and attend to others who " need you more." I have 
known them well attended to and comfortable between snowy 
sheets in hospital ; but I like best to remember them — and it 
was worth risking much to see their faces ^when three pieces of 
tape had been tied to the foot of their beds, for in hosj)ital 
parlance that meant " For home." 

The way some of the officers meet the disagreeables of war is 
instructive. One man who had been brought up in the lap of 
luxury shed real tears of annoyance when the mud and the 
rain went down the back of his neck, but when the pinch came 
it did not prevent him from leading a forlorn hope. 

I am sorry to say Chaplain Mackenzie, after three years in 
God's service at the front, has entirely broken down in health 
and been obliged to return to Australia. 

What he was as a preacher I do not know, but that his 
religion was a real thing to him I feel sure. Perhaps it 
would have been difficult to him to " put his reason in writing," 
as the lawyers say, as to why he believed and embraced certain 
theories appertaining to his religion, and probably he would 
have come off second-best in a profound theological argument, 
but he would have pounded many learned divines at Scriptural 
quotations, chapters and verses. His religion made him very 
happy and bright, assisted, no doubt, by his robust health. He 
sang and laughed and used his robustness to help those less 
fortunate than himself. 

I think he was rather an inspired being. He felt there was 
something in him which acted as his guide, counsellor, and friend ; 
not the thin small voice we call conscience, but stronger than 
that and different. What some people might term coincidence 
he attributed to this " something " in him telling him what to 
do, and what to avoid. This " something " turned him back 

268 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

once when bound on an errand of mercy, and the road on which 
he would have travelled was torn up by shell-fire. At other 
times he was led to places he had no reason to visit, and found 
men alone and dying. He feels it is the Spirit of God working 
in him. 

The Salvation Army has met with a good deal of encourage- 
ment and appreciation. Lord French recently said, " Of all 
the great associations and organisations which have sprung into 
existence in the last fifty years for the temporal and spiritual 
welfare of the community, none have offered finer work, 
attained more splendid results throughout the British Empire, 
than the Salvation Army. In particular its activities have been 
of the greatest benefit to the soldiers in the war." Lord Derby 
sent them encouraging messages through their General. In a 
letter he says, " All good wishes for your success. The 
splendid work which the Salvation Army has done amongst the 
soldiers during the war is one for which I as Secretary of State 
for War should like to thank them most sincerely. It is work 
deserving of all support." Admiral Sir John Jellicoe also pays 
them a tribute : " His Majesty's Services owe much to the 
Salvation Army." 

I remember when I was in India years ago dear old General 
and Mrs. Booth coming up to Simla. I think it was the year 
Mrs. Booth died. Lord William Beresford lent them the theatre 
to hold one of their meetings. I was staying with Sir West 
and liady Ridgeway, and was in their box with them. The 
Ripons were opposite in their box, and the house was full. 
Many of us, I am afraid, went thinking we should be amused, 
and when the procession filed in beating drums and clashing 
brass instruments, some smiles wandered round the theatre ; 
but directly General Booth with his snow-white hair and 
beard began to speak, his common sense and earnestness at once 
aroused our interest, and he was so eloquent he carried us along 
with him until we all felt ashamed of the little smile that visited 
us when first the meeting began. After addressing us in English 
he addressed the natives fluently in the vernacular. He 
indulged in none of his understudies' wearisome repetitions of 
" and I was saved," or as some of them expressed it, " I was 
sived." His language was refined and polished. 

Mrs. Booth also spoke, and it must have been apparent to 

Chaplain Mackenzie, Salvation Army 269 

all that she was very far from strong and simply burning to 
save us all. It was a vital matter to her, and I believe she 
would have gone on pleading with us until she was completely 
exhausted if her husband had not very kindly and tenderly 
stopped her. 

Miss Booth, the granddaughter of these very earnest people, 
has lately written an interesting little book giving an account of 
the Army's work all over the world. 

A monster hut has been erected in France by the Australian 
Salvationists, and they crowd into it. Services, sing-songs, and 
amusements all take their turn in it. Captain Mackenzie used 
to sing to them there, provide them with books, magazines, 
games, and material for letter-writing, to try and help them to 
forget all the hardships of the trenches. 

I read somewhere the other day that those who live to tell 
the tale, when they return to their homes in Australia will sing : 

I daiindered here and I daundered there 

And I daundered round the corner, 
I daundered into an army hut 

And I got Salvation yonder. 

And they will sing it to the tune of " The Girl I Left Behind Me." 

There was also a Roman Catholic chaplain who came over 
with the Australians, Father Bergin by name. His early 
missionary career was in the Holy Land and Syria. Had there 
been no war he would probably still be alive and well, carrying 
out God's work in that lonely outpost of civilisation. But 
Father Bergin being a British subject and Turkey being at war, 
necessitated for him, as for many others, a very hasty and 
undignified departure at the point of Turkish bayonets from the 
scenes of his labours. 

The home of the Jesuit Order in Cairo became his temporary 
home, and it was from this home early in 1915 that he first came 
into contact with the A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force). 

He served with them in France and was with them through 
all their battles from Ypres to the Somme, up to the time of his 
death on October 12, 1917. He could not be prevailed upon 
to take rest and leave, so devoted was he to his work. 

His chief characteristic was his simplicity and gentleness. 

270 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

All who ever met him, from staff officers to privates, liked him 
as a friend, and all regarded him as a man of God. 

It is rather difficult to write of the work of the priests and 
clergy of all denominations ; it is not for the eyes of the world. 

A colleague in the same division with Father Bergin gives an 
account of his last days in this life. He and his unit had been 
having a few days' rest behind the lines, and the Sunday before 
returning to the front line again he held a service in the little 
local church and had a fine parade of his boys. Within a few 
days a Requiem was sung in the same church for Father Bergin. 
He had moved up with his Brigade to an advanced post on 
October 10th in order to attend to the wounded. On the 
evening of the big attack made by the gallant Australians on 
October 12th he was standing at the entrance to the Aid Post— 
an old German " pill-box " of spacious size and great strength. 
The shelling was violent, but the danger was not very close at 
hand. In fact, he was actually watching some men who were 
hard pressed at some little distance, and standing with him was 
the first staff-captain and the signal officer of the Brigade. 
Suddenly a heavy shell burst a few yards off, killing Father 
Bergin instantly, also the signal officer, Lieut. Darke. The 
staff officer escaped with a severe shock. 

In a little quiet corner of the cemetery at Renninghelst rests 
the remains of Father Bergin amongst the British and French 
who have fallen since the days of 1914. 

Chapter XX 

Church of England Bishops — Roman Catholics — Nonconformists — Helpf-.l 
Priests — Roman Catholics in 1688 — Father Finn at Sedd-el-Bahr — With the 
Dublin Fusiliers — The Last few Words — Preparation for Death— The Clyde 
run Aground — A Desperate Landing — ^The Colonel's Advice — Father Finn's 
Reply — A Boat-load and what was Left — Riddled with Bullets — A Ghastly 
Scene — Men Digging like Dogs — A Crippled Arm — The Sign of the Cross — 
Bleeding to Death — A Last Question — The Rev. T. A.Harker Describes the 
Scene — A Crimson Sea — Sympathy of the King and Queen — A Strong 
Presentiment — Admiral de Roebuck's Despatch — Father Finn's Early Days — 
Bishop of Middlesborough's Appreciation — The Late Mr. John Redmond — 
His Letter to the Author — Father Gwynn — At the Western Front — Buried 
Alive — Fights his Way Out — A Priestly Act — The Rev. Richard Hall — 
Appreciates the Catholic Priests — Father Bradley's Unselfishness — In- 
fectious Piety — " A Good Job Too " — A Service before Action — An Ex- 
perience of German Submarines — A Rush for Life-belts — With an Eye to the 
Future — Father Willaert — Sees his Brother Shot — Asked " Not to Look." 

I HAVE made several discoveries while writing this book, one 
being that there is no more instructive method of observing 
the psychology of the various great religious organisms 
than in compiling a book of this sort. It seems to me that 
nothing but good can come of recording the achievements of 
some of the undeniably splendid men who have served as 
chaplains in the great war, because the chaplains' department 
has not received anjrthing like its share of recognition in war 
literature, and I think it is certain that the parsons' work with 
the armies in the field is underrated by the man in the street. 
My views seem to be shared by the Roman Catholics and 
Nonconformists, at any rate, for when I have applied to them 
for any information in connection with my subjects I have 
received nothing but kindness and prompt help. When it 
came to the Bishops of the Church of England it was like trying 
to get information out of the giant tortoise at the Zoo, which 
it was impossible to say whether it was alive or dead. Dealing 
with the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists was dealing 
with real live people, while — and I say it with sorrow, being a 
member of the Church of England— our ecclesiastical dignitaries 

272 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

are amazingly and deplorably apathetic. One Bishop I wrote 
to asking some questions concerning the chaplains who had left 
his diocese, replied saying he knew nothing about the branch 
to which I referred ; another, after a few more or less meaning- 
less sentences, thought that when all had done so well it would 
not do to mention any one in particular ; while a third, whose 
son is a chaplain and has been decorated, said his son had told 
him he had " done nothing." 

The Catholics, from the Cardinal Archbishop downwards, 
have been most helpful, and evidently know every detail of the 
splendid work done by their priests. The helpfulness of the 
latter makes me wish I had been brought up in the Catholic 

For many years there were no Roman Catholic priests 
allowed to serve in the British Army. The first was appointed 
as chaplain during the Crimea, and sent to the hospitals at 
Scutari and Malta. After that campaign they became a 
permanent part of the establishment, but in a very limited 
number, usually one Catholic chaplain to every expeditionary 
force. When military operations were on a very large scale 
additional temporary chaplains were appointed, and they 
received the same pay and relative rank as the Anglican and 
Presbyterian chaplains, rising according to length of service to 
the grade of chaplain of the First Class, with the rank of Colonel. 

From the Revolution of 1688, for about a hundred years, if a 
Roman Catholic wished to enlist in the British Army he was 
obliged to attend the Protestant services at the Church Parades. 
In those days I believe the Catholics who felt attracted to a 
military career served in the Irish Brigades of the French army 
or entered the Austrian or Spanish service. In these armies 
many Catholics, mostly from Ireland but a few from Great 
Britain, rose to high rank. 

Under the stress of the conflict with the American colonies 
and the war with France, Catholics were at last allowed to 
enlist, the higher ranks of the army being closed to them. A 
few years after Waterloo this rule was relaxed. 

At the beginning of the war in 1914 there were not enough 
Catholic priests for the needs of the army, and the War Office 
had to ask for more. Even then there have been complaints 
that there are not enough. The War Office, in spite of Lord 

Father Finn 273 

Kitchener's warning, failed to recognise the enormous under- 
taking ahead of us. 

Each CathoHc priest has been paid by the Enghsh Govern- 
ment and everything provided for him at the pubHc expense, 
even a portable altar and all things necessary for the celebration 
of the Holy Communion in the field. 

The first army chaplain of any denomination to fall in the 
war was Father Finn, who was attached to the 1st Dublin 
Fusiliers. He was killed on April 25, 1915, at Sedd-el-Bahr 
at the mouth of the Straits — ^" the worst and bloodiest of all 
the landings," according to John Masefield. 

On the Ides of March, 1915, heedless of Caesar's warning, 
the 1st Dublin Fusiliers, who had been training at Kenilworth, 
left that town with their officers and chaplain by the 10.30 p.m. 
train, for they knew not where. 

All Kenilworth used to run to their garden gates when they 
heard the " Dubs " (as they affectionately called the Dublin 
Fusiliers) marching along and trying to keep their hearts up by 
singing " It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary." No one in 
Kenilworth can bear to hear it now. After the dark night of 
March 15th had swallowed up those cheery lads who had won 
the hearts of Kenilworth, all was wrapped in mystery. No 
little bird whispered where they were, no little bird even pre- 
tended to know, and for all Kenilworth knew the " Dubs " 
might have been swept off the face of the earth, until the 
papers arrived one bright May morning — I think it was the 4th 
— the newspapers arrived blazing with the account of the 
brilliant and successful landing of the heroic " Dubs " at the 
Dardanelles, a feat of arms " that will add lustre to the glorious 
records of the British Army " : so said the papers. 

In General Sir Ian Hamilton's vividly-written despatch 
picturing those landing operations he says, "It is my firm 
conviction that no finer feat of arms has ever been achieved by 
the British soldiers or any other soldiers than the storming of 
those trenches from the open boats on the morning of April 25th, 

That was the date of the landing of the 29th Division on the 
Gallipoli peninsula. These troops were especially assigned that 
almost impossible task, being well-seasoned men, the last large 
unit remaining of the old regular army. 


274 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

With this Division were the 1st DubUn and 1st Munster 
Fusiliers. Father Finn ministered to the spiritual needs of 
both, the majority of the men being Catholics, and most sin- 
cerely did he love the men and most unceasingly did he work for 

On board the transport during the voyage out, when the men 
became depressed with the monotony of the life. Father Finn 
would tell them amusing stories, sing to them, arrange sports for 
them, all with a view to cheering them up. 

At last the weary journey came to an end. On Saturday, 
April 24th, the transport lay just off Tenedos surrounded by the 
warships of the Allied Fleets that were preparing for the great 
bombardment next morning. Father Finn held his last Mass 
on board and was very happy, as so many attended the service 
and partook of the Sacrament. 

His addresses to the men were homely and simple, what he 
called a " few words." He knew, and the men knew, there was 
some deadly work before them. Many of the priest's " few 
words "were on the subject of contrition. He told them if they 
were wounded and no priest was near, they should say, " O 
my God, I am sorry that I have sinned against Thee, because 
Thou art so good ; I will try and sin no more," and that this 
would be acceptable to their Heavenly Father. His last " few 
words " to the men while addressing them were on " Preparation 
for Death." Little did any of them think that before another 
sun would set the majority of them would have laid down their 

In the darkness of that early Sunday morning, with all 
lights out, the s.s. Clyde ran aground, according to orders, close 
to the shelving beach. With the first glimmering of dawn began 
the thunder of the guns, the commencement of the great bom- 
bardment. It was certain death attempting to land, and they 
all knew it, for this was no surprise attack on the enemy ; they 
knew our troops were coming and they had been preparing a 
warm reception ; all was in readiness. 

All the landings were desperate undertakings, the Turks, 
under German directions, having arranged every conceivable 
device in barbed-wire traps, hidden machine-guns, etc., to 
make impregnable these narrow landing-places. 

The moment the men from the Clyde began to disembark 

Father Finn 275 - 

shells crashed into her from the shore, machine-guns were turned 
on to the two exits made in her sides from which the men were 
emerging, mine-sweepers with boats in tow packed with men were 
leaving the transport for land, covered by a fierce bombardment 
of the enemy's shore position from our battleships and cruisers. 

When the men were disembarking Father Finn was observed 
to be preparing to go with them. The Colonel advised him to 
stay on board and attend to the wounded as they were sent 
back, but he was determined to go with his beloved Dublins. 
Again the Colonel tried to stop him, saying, " You are very 
foolish, it means certain death." Father Finn replied, " My 
place is with the dying soldiers, I must go," and he stepped on 
to the gangway to share the fortunes of the men. He had only 
moved a yard or two when he was struck by a bullet in the chest. 
Nothing daunted, .he stepped into the boat with the Colonel. 
Before the shore was reached Father Finn received two more 
wounds, one in the thigh and another in the arm, rendering it 
almost useless, and the Colonel was dead. Out of that boatload 
of forty-five men five only lived to reach the shore. 

Father Finn, driven to tears with the sight of his men falling 
in crowds as they reached the beach, while others died in the 
boats without even landing, jumped out of the boat and waded 
through the water towards the men — a brave struggle for a 
thrice- wounded man — and he had to climb half-sunken barbed 
wire amid a storm of shrapnel, machine-gun and rifle fire. He 
succeeded in joining the men on the shore, where already the 
water was crimson with the lifeblood of brave men. 

Those that were left of the Dublins M^ere lying on their faces 
on the open shell-raked beach, trying to work forward by short 
rushes, yet scarcely gaining a foot of ground, for as they rose 
they were mown down. 

The Turks tried hard to drive all into the sea and nearly 
succeeded, but the 29th Division were there, and those who were 
left held their ground. The men dug and scraped frantically 
with their hands to try and make a little cover, until their nails 
were gone and fingers bleeding, and what use was it in that 
exposed position ? 

Amid these shambles Father Finn dragged himself from 
group to group of wounded and dying men. He was seen 
crouching down by a man who was mortally wounded, holding 

276 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

up his poor crippled right arm with his left to enable him to 
make the sign of the Cross as he absolved the man of all his 


Some of the Dubhns wanted to carry him to the pinnace 
taking wounded back to the ship, but he would not leave his 
men, though at the time he was practically bleeding to death, 
being riddled with bullets. The last words before a bursting 
shell fractured his skull were, " Are our fellows winning ? " 
and amid the soldiers he loved so well and served so faithfully, 
and the thunder of the guns on land and sea, he passed away. 
None died more gloriously that terrible day than the young 
priest, who was barely forty. 

The Rev. T. A. Harker, the chaplain who buried Father Finn, 
in a letter home describing what happened, says, " The little 
boats were trying to land, but just as they reached the shore 
they were met with a fusillade of rifles and machine-guns ; the 
slaughter was appalling, men drowned, men dying without any 
hope of being assisted, and soon the only passage to the shore 
was over the bodies of the dead and dying. ... It is un- 
fortunately true that many of our wounded have been bayoneted 
and outrageously treated." 

The landing that had been pronounced by many as im- 
possible had been accomplished, but at what a cost ! Within 
an hour of breakfast the Brigadier, the Brigade-Major, and the 
CathoHc chaplain were lying dead, and a steam-pinnace by 
8 a.m. was alongside the transport laden with broken men, the 
first of many such loads. More than half the men who attended 
Mass the day before on board the Clyde were dead. 

None who witnessed that gallant effort of the 29th Division 
will ever forget the scene. On the beach more than a quarter 
of a mile in width lay in heaps the shattered bodies of what once 
were men, in the stillness of death, the happy heedlessness of 
death. An hour before, all.were eager to " do or die," but what 
chance had they ? One man, speaking of that day, said, " We 
had no run for our money." Another, " It was a foregone 
conclusion and a certain death-trap." 

It took the chaplains four days and nights, working un- 
ceasingly, to bury the dead. 

News of Father Finn's death reached his brother at Hull 
with the usual cold and official regrets, perhaps a trifle softened 

Father Finn 277 

by " Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy. " The King and 
Queen also sent messages of sympathy. 

Father Finn had a strong presentiment he would be killed, 
and in a little more than a month from his leaving England's 
shores the presentiment was fulfilled. 

It is difficult for those at home to picture what that landing 
meant. Admiral de Roebuck in his despatch gives us a little 
idea of the superhuman task the brave 29th Division were 
called upon to face at V. beach. He says, " This beach it 
was anticipated would be the most difficult to capture. It 
possessed all the advantages for defence which W. beach had, 
and in addition the flanks were strongly guarded by the old 
castle and village of Sedd-el-Bahr on the east and perpendicular 
cliffs on the west ; the whole foreshore was covered with barbed- 
wire entanglements, which extended in places under the sea. 
The position formed a natural amphitheatre with the beach as 
stage." In the ffi-st boatload of men to leave the ship all were 
killed or wounded, another boat entirely disappeared, in a third 
only two survived ; the boats were heaped with dead. 

The letter of another chaplain who landed with the 29th 
Division is before me. He writes, " We put off in small boats 
towed by pinnaces from the warship. Those who went ashore 
first had an awful time, especially the Dublin and Lancashire 
Fusiliers. In both regiments the Colonels were killed, the 
Adjutants, and practically all the officers, including chaplain 
Finn. On landing I found hundreds of wounded and dying ; 
most of them were the Dublin and Lancashire Fusiliers, and to 
them belong the honours of the day. They stormed up a steep 
cliff with fixed bayonets in the face of a galling fire from rifles 
and maxims, but they made it possible for us to land. They 
won for themselves everlasting renown." 

A loving hand quickly fashioned a wooden cross to mark 
the place where Father Finn rests. 

And how has all this carnage profited us ? That is the 
thought that pursues us. What has been gained by the death 
of all those mothers' sons ? 

The Rev. William J. Finn, otherwise known as Father Finn, 
spoke of himself as a Yorkshireman with a strain of Celtic blood, 
an Irishman battened on Yorkshire Moors. He was born at 
Hull and was the son of Mr. Austin Finn, a well-known citizen 

278 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

of that place. His education was commenced at St. Ciithbert's 
College, Ushaw, and he finished his theological studies at the 
Gregorian University, Rome. In August, 1900, he was ordained 
priest at the Cathedral, Middlesborough, by the Rt. Rev. Dr. 
Lacy, the first and present bishop of that busy centre, who 
speaks in terms of high appreciation of Father Finn, his 
preaching and his work. 

In a letter I received not long ago from Father Lacy, Bishop 
of Middlesborough, whom I have known since I was a child, he 
says, " In private life Father Finn was very genial and had a 
keen sense of humour. I took him to Rome with me in 1909 
and I noticed he very soon made friends with his fellow- 
travellers. On board ship he was quite the life of the company 
he fell in with. As he had studied for a time in Rome he 
enjoyed his second visit to the Eternal City very much." 

Father Finn spoke of his four or five years in Middlesborough 
as a happy time. He certainly found there a large field for his 
work, the population being ninety-one thousand souls, com- 
posed of many nationalities working in the shipyards, steel and 
iron-works, salt and soda-works, as well as other industries. 
As usual among such crowds of toilers, there were times of 
discontent resulting in strikes, which are apt to end in defiance 
of law and order, but Father Finn's influence had a certain 
amount of restraining effect during moral and social upheavals. 
One of the reasons of his influence and popularity was his 
broadmindedness, a characteristic not usually very marked in 

After leaving Middlesborough he was a year at Whitby and 
four at Thirsk, then went as chaplain to Colonel Langdale, of 
Houghton Hall, where he remained until war was declared and 
he volunteered for the post of army chaplain. The Bishop 
reluctantly gave his consent. 

Father Finn was of a temperament easily depressed and 
equally easily excited, and at times he doubted whether he had 
not made a mistake in taking this step. He was never very 
robust, and those who cared for him were anxious lest he should 
be unequal to the strain. All his life he had been of a studious 
nature, but fond of games and sport, being captain of his school. 
He spoke French and Italian fluently, and was well versed in 
Latin and Gaelic, fond and proud of his good classical library. 



[Facing p. 278. 


4b CJi 




Pastor of this Chiirch 

wh0;5$j^^|e call 



TO His MajeItys Forces 
tN THE Worlds War 


Sunday 25'^ April 1915. 

; The FIRST IN Sacred Order 


This Tablet and Reredos 
ar£ erected by 



"«»wnv>'.i' III. II mmmiM 




Facing p. 279.' 

Father Finn ' 279 

The study, rather than the battlefield, seemed more suited 
to him. 

An oil-painting of Father Finn has been presented to the 
College at Ushaw bearing the inscription, " The Rev. W. J. 
Finn, C.F., attached to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who fell at 
Sedd-el-Bahr, April 25th, 1915. The first Army Chaplain of 
any denomination to give his life in the Great War. 

" Presented by his sister." 

I am sorry there has been no official recognition of Father 
Finn's glorious death, and I know my regret was shared by Mr. 
John Redmond, who exerted himself in every possible way to 
obtain this recognition, meeting with the most sympathetic 
reception in the matter both from General Sir Ian Hamilton and 
General Sir Hunter Weston, each of them describing Father 
Finn's gallantry as worthy of the highest recognition. 

Mr. Redmond tells me the only reason why such recognition 
was not given was because it was impossible to obtain the two 
living witnesses who were necessary in order that the Victoria 
Cross might be conferred on him after his death, and that the 
other decorations at the disposal of the War Office cannot, 
according to the rules and regulations, be conferred posthu- 

I doubt if Father Finn would have cared for worldly 
recognition of anything he had done, and it certanily cannot 
matter to him now, but it is a duty and a pleasure for the living 
to keep ever green in their hearts and minds the heroic deeds of 
those who have gone, and it would have been a great pleasure 
to his friends and to the regiments he served so faithfully, to 
the members of the parishes where he had worked, and to 
Ireland generally. 

Since writing this chapter Mr. John Redmond has died 
One of the last letters he wrote before his operation, was to me, 
and dated from the House of Commons, expressing his admira- 
tion of Father Finn and his pleasure that I was writing of his 
gallantry, and saying how sorry he was that it had been im- 
possible to gain any public recognition of his bravery. Every- 
thing connected with Ireland and the Irish was dear to the 
heart of Mr. Redmond. 

^^ The Roman Catholic chaplains have a fine and honourable 
record. Father Finn was the first to fall on the Eastern front 

28o sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

and Father Gwynn was the first to be killed on the Western 
front. He volunteered and was appointed to the Irish Guards. 
Several war-correspondents have described how before going 
into action, before going forward in a charge, the Irish Guards 
would kneel for a few moments in prayer. This was Father 
Gwynn's teaching ; they knelt for his absolution. 

His services amongst the men were all too brief. He was 
wounded in the brickfields near La Bassee on February 1, 
1915. The wound was not serious ; he had it dressed and was 
back again amongst the men in half an hour, but a few weeks 
later he met his death in another attack on German trenches. 

An Irish Guardsman writes, " I saw him just before he died. 
Shrapnel and bullets were being showered upon us in all direc- 
tions. Hundreds of our lads dropped. Father Gwynn was 
quite calm. He seemed to be all over the place, trying to give 
the last Sacrament to the dying. Once I thought he was buried 
alive, for a shell exploded within a few yards of where he was 
and the next moment I saw nothing but a heap of earth. The 
plight of the wounded concealed beneath was most harrowing. 
Out of the ground came cries of ' Father, Father ! ' from those 
who were in their death-agonies. Then as if by a miracle Father 
Gwynn was seen fighting his way through the earth. He must 
have been seriously injured, but he went on blessing the wounded 
and hearing their confessions. The last I saw of him he was 
kneeling beside a German soldier. I believe he was killed 
immediately after this act of priestly charity to a fallen 

In letters from the front both from officers and men there 
have been many references to Father Gwynn's devoted courage 
and popularity, not only with his own people and Irish Guards, 
but with all other denominations. 

An English chaplain, speaking of the Irish Guards during 
the retreat from Mons, is full of praise of them in a charge that 
has now become famous ; not entirely on account of its success, 
but from the action of the men before the advance took place, 
for it was the subject of enthusiastic comment from one end of 
the British lines to the other. On receiving the orders to 
prepare to charge, the men, as if by common impulse, dropped 
on their knees and for a few moments prayed with bared and 
bent heads, then rose, made the sign of the Cross, and dashed 

Father Finn 281 

with fixed bayonets at the German positions. Several who have 
tried to explain this moment to me have declared the men's 
faces were quite happy, as though inspired. 

The Rev. Richard Hall, Wesleyan chaplain to the forces on 
the western front, addressing a meeting of Methodists in Ulster 
in 1915, paid an eloquent tribute to the fighting qualities of the 
Irish Guards and the Roman Catholic chaplains, whom he said 
he remembered amongst his best friends. Father Bradley he 
considered one of the finest and best men he ever met. 

One night when the troops were lying on the ground, en- 
deavouring to sleep, by a river, Mr. Hall, not feeling well and 
very cold, remarked on the fact to Father Bradley, who at once 
offered his blankets, which of course were refused with many 
thanks. The following morning when Mr. Hall awoke he found 
Father Bradley's blankets covering him. 

It is pleasant to hear of the various chaplains working so 
happily together. This war has taught us many things. 

The attitude of the Catholic soldiers to their priests is 
interesting. They seek them as they would their doctor, and 
their piety is infectious. Thousands who never dreamed of 
turning Catholic have felt themselves drawn into Catholic ways. 
For instance, when Father Eric Green, chaplain of the Naval 
Division at the Dardanelles, gave all his men badges of the 
Sacred Heart before going into action, he was asked by numbers 
of other denominations to give them one to wear. 

An English soldier of the Church of England, writing to his 
people from Gallipoli, while telling them of his experiences on 
the voyage and after landing, speaks highly of the priests : 
" You know I am not allowed to say very much, but I will 
tell you how we landed. We had a rough voyage, chased by 
German submarines. Well, a Catholic Father sailed with us, 
and a good job too. We thought we were done for, but he was 
like a good shepherd. I learned how to pray then if I never 
prayed before. ... I think if I am spared I shall take care to 
lead a good Christian life. I shall never forget the way he 
taught us to pray. The soldiers run after him shouting, 
' Bless me, sir, same as you have done that man ! ' Well, he 
blessed us all on the ship and everyone kissed a cross he had. 
It seemed strange to me, but I did what they did. The men 
do pray in the field. We all wish he could stop with us always. 

282 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

There are several fathers and ministers, but none take same as 
him. I don't know his name." 

The men generally speak of their regiment as being the best 
in the service and their Padre the best in the world. I like to 
hear it. 

One man writing of the time when the force from Suvla Bay 
came in touch with the advance from Anzac, speaks of Father 
John Lineham as moving about the whole day between the 
firing-line and dressing-station bringing in wounded on his back 
regardless of creed or nationality — Ghurkas, Australians, New 

Another letter says, " After we had halted at the foot of 
Chocolate Hill to reform, I heard a great cheer, and there was 
Father Day coming along quite steadily across the battlefield 
(he had halted to succour some dying soldiers). He shouted as 
he came, ' Good cheer, boys ! ' and went searching for water, 
which he found, and then supplied many burning throats with 
a drink." 

It is delightful to hear the Tommies (most of them) on the 
subject of the army chaplains. One youth tells me, " And the 
chaplain he come along the trenches and he says to me, ' Jerry, 
you keep your heart up and your head down.' " 

Another man waxed eloquent over the amount of work 
other than priestly duties that the chaplains have done and are 
doing. Amongst the things that had surprised him was seeing 
a couple of Roman Catholic priests take off their coats and wash 
down some blood-soaked ambulance cars. With a sigh of 
sympathy he added, " And one of them was a bit stout and he 
did puff and blow ! " 

Up to the time of writing, more than twenty Catholic 
chaplains have been mentioned in despatches and granted 
various military decorations. 

Father McMullen was with General Townshend at Kut-el- 

It is easier to write of the dead than the living ; we are so 
much less captious of the dead. Be mortuis nil nisi honum. 

An impressive service was held in a little village in Flanders 
on the^'eve of a big attack. The little chapel that has escaped 
destruction was crowded with men anxious to make their peace 
with God ;" there was barely standing room. Close your eyes 

Father Finn 283 

and picture that scene. The priest could hardly be heard for 
the noise of the guns as he gave the Holy Communion. Two 
priests, one each side of the door, in the open, hearing con- 
fessions from muddy war-stained men with grim, absorbed 
faces. Then, when blessed, pardoned, and absolved, all sang 
from their souls, " Faith of our fathers, Holy Faith," and went 
forth to battle, each man knowing well the chances were all 
against his being alive at that hour on the morrow. 

None but those who have been at the front can form any idea 
of the present efficiency of our artillery ; it is positively weird, 
its accuracy, quantity, and quality, beggars description. 

The Rev. A. Gribbin, a Catholic priest, had an experience on 
board a hospital ship of being shelled. His description of it both 
interested and amused me. His religious gratitude for escaping 
death, combined with a businesslike eye to future needs, 
impressed me. The story is best told in his own words. 

" About 5 p.m. as I was sitting reading in my cabin, I heard a 
couple of shots fired, and went on deck to investigate. I was 
too interested to be alarmed, when I saw another four shells drop 
into the sea not very far away from us and a German submarine 
about four miles away wasting her shot on us. The last shell, a 
shrapnel, seemed to be aimed at our wireless apparatus, but 
passed harmlessly over the ship. Here we wisely stopped, and 
the chief officer rowed towards the enemy in a lifeboat to learn 
our fate. When the commander of the submarine saw we were 
unarmed and innocent, he sailed towards us and examined our 
papers with the list of the personnel on board. Being satisfied 
as to our credentials, he wished the chief good-night and a 
pleasant voyage and allowed us to proceed. 

" Such in brief is an account of our experience, though many 
little incidents were packed into those two hours. At first when 
I thought matters looked serious and I was afraid we were 
going to be shelled, I went round and gave my little flock absolu- 
tion and then made secure my chalice and holy oils. The boats 
were lowered ready to get into at a moment's rotice, but they 
were never actually dropped into the water. It gets very tiring 
standing at boat-stations for over an hour with our fate in the 
balance, but there was absolutely no panic or alarm from the 
very first, and with not being sunk immediately we hardly 
seemed to realise our danger. When we found time was being 

284 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

given, there was quite a rush for the cabins to pack necessary 
articles, but apart from my chalice, etc., I only took my overcoat 
and some Horlick's tablets. The important thing was to see to 
plenty of blankets for the sisters and provisions for each boat, 
because we were one hundred and thirty miles from the nearest 
point of land^ — a long voyage in an open lifeboat. 

" Five of the sisters had been on the Braemar Castle when she 
came to grief, so you can imagine what a terrible shock they 

" We must give the Huns credit for playing the game 
squarely, because with the exception of the doubtful shot near 
our wireless and over the boat, the other shells were only as a 
warning to stop. Please God we shall always be as lucky, 
because the sea is a terrible place in these days. 

" I did not forget to say a Mass in thanksgiving for my 
escape, because we may he in need of help any time ! " 

Ingenuous Mr. Gribbin ! 

The lists of priests killed in the vicinity of Namur alone is 
appalling ; twenty-seven were done to death and twelve have 
disappeared God only knows where. 

Father Willart was an eve-witness to his brother's death 
after the burning of Louvain. Fugitives were making their 
way to Brussels on foot. The majority were allowed to enter 
peacefully, but the priests were supposed to have incited the 
people to fire on the Germans, so they were all searched. Father 
Willart's brother was a young Jesuit scholastic, aged twenty- 
three, not yet ordained. In his pocket was a diary of passing 
events with some of his own comments. For this he was 
condemned to death without any trial. He was placed against 
a tree at the side of the road. He asked his companions " not 
to look." A volley was fired, but he was not killed. A German 
officer then stepped up close to the young man and put a couple 
of bullets through his brain. A hole was dug under the tree and 
his body thrown in. 

I could write chapters more about the experiences of the 
army chaplains, but space forbids, and it will not be possible 
until after the war to make a complete list even of the fallen. 

Chapter XXI 

More Discoveries — " The United Army and Navy Board " — Nine Million Com- 
municants — Recruiting Sergeant's Advice — Compulsory Churcli Parades — 
Wliat tlie Soldiers Think About it — A Nonconformist Discovers a Great 
Trutli — Service before Battle — A Post-Card gone Astray — Soldiers and their 
Sports — Football to Accompaniment of Guns — Tommy Atkins and the 
Chaplains — The Rev. E.L.Watson — His Varied Career — A Festive Evening 
— The Rev. T. Tattersall — Understands Soldiers — Some Soldier Stories — A 
Nonconformist Minister turns Combatant — Behind the Lines — A '^' Lucky 
Dog " — But Far from Happy — Sir Percival in Quest of the Holy Grail. 

OTHER discoveries have been made during this war, 
one on the part of the War Office ; they have 
discovered the Free Church parson as chaplain. 
Another even farther-reaching discovery — the parsons of various 
denominations have discovered each other. Before the war 
only Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterian, Wesleyan and 
Jewish forms of religion were recognised by the War Office ; 
the rest were looked upon as " Fancy Religions," to quote from 
the old regular army sergeant. 

In those days there were comparatively few Baptists, 
Congregationalists, Primitive and United Methodists in the 
army. As soon, however, as recruiting began on a large scale, 
and still more when universal military service was introduced, 
the men of military age from amongst the Nonconformists ran 
into thousands and it became necessary to provide for their 
religious needs. 

The War Office naturally did not wish to send any more men 
to the front than could possibly be helped, as it meant taking 
both the room and the food needed for combatants ; but the 
Rev. J. H. Shakespeare's perseverance at last gained the 
necessary sanction of the authorities to send out Nonconformist 
ministers to look after their chosen flocks. 

Eventually the Baptist joined with the Primitive and 
United Methodists, forming what is now called " The United 
Navy and Army Board," and they all work together. This 

286 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

combination appears to have answered well and has facilitated 
the work of the chaplaincy department of the War Office. 

This combined board has chaplains in France, Salonika, 
Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Italy. 

In the English-speaking world, including America, there are 
no less than nine million communicants belonging to the Free 
Church, outnumbering the Anglican Church by three to one. 
It seems only fair they should be voiced. 

It is much easier now for soldiers to join the army under 
their own denominations than it was in pre-war times. Anyone 
acquainted with the ways of the army will know that the first 
piece of advice given to a recruit on joining was to the effect 
that if he were wise he would declare himself a member of the 
prevailing Church in the regiment he wished to join. For 
instance, if he were going into an English regiment he was 
advised to say he was Church of England, if to an Irish regiment 
he was to say he was a Roman Catholic, or if to a Scottish regi- 
ment he should say he was a Presbyterian. 

The idea was that by this means he would attend the most 
convenient church parade on Sundays. Take, for example, an 
English regiment. The Church of England parade would be at 
11 a.m. and the chapel probably within a stone's-throw of the 
barracks, while the unwary few who had declared themselves 
Roman Catholics might have to parade at cock-crow and march 
to some far-distant chapel. This was so well understood that 
men did not often split hairs over the particular denomination 
to which they belonged ; they had to belong to one of the five 
recognised religions, and that was an end of the matter, for if 
once recruits w^re given the chance of saying they belonged to 
any religion they liked, the difficulties of enforcing the com- 
pulsory church parade would at once become much greater. 
Men would declare themselves Buddhists, for instance, and who 
could insist on their attending church parades after that ? It 
is no use being shocked and saying they would never do such a 
thing, for anyone who knows anything about Thomas Atkins 
knows quite well that plenty of them would gladly seize any 
opportunity of avoiding compulsory church parade. 

It is also no use the clerics saying the men do not hate this 
compulsory church parade, for they do. Look at it this way : 
if they would not prefer to stay away, why make it compulsory ? 

Revs. E. L. Watson and T. Tattersall 287 

It is curious that amongst the many clerics I have conversed 
with the only chaplain who seems to have grasped this simple 
truth was a Nonconformist, and I see it is referred to in a little 
booklet compiled by Frederick Spurr and published by the 
United Board. Mr. J. H. Shakespeare has kindly sent it to me. 

A chaplain says, " The parade service is not altogether a 
happy thing ; we do not have many of them— war conditions 
are against them : so are both officers and men. Compulsion 
in religion is profitless. Sometimes the services set men against 

A service to which all may come if they like is another matter 

The most stirring service and the best attended is the one 
held on the eve of battle, when all men of whatsoever denomina- 
tion have a desire to offer a last prayer for those they love, one 
last supplication for God's Mercy. The Padre feels that he holds 
in his hand a God-sent moment, and he uses it to his utmost 
capacity. The men listen intently ... all is ready, rifles 
and bayonets cleaned, their own private roll-call has been 
answered ; they have done with yesterday and to-day, and 
await to-morrow. 

And from their hearts, with grim, set faces, they sing some 
of their favourite hymns, " Abide with Me," or " Nearer, my 
God, to Thee." The service is over, all have received the 
Sacrament who wish to do so, they file past the chaplain, 
exchange a hand-grip and a look, then pass on into the dark. 
Most are silent and most have a letter or two to write ; their 
hearts are full of things they want to say, but no word will they 
breathe of any possibilities of the near future. They know what 
is before them, many have already had a taste, and all have been 
in the midst of this war's unparalleled horrors. 

The following post-card was written in one of those soul- 
stirring moments, and by some mischance was carried into 
battle instead of posted. It was found beside the dead writer 
in a blood-soaked trench. 

" Dear Jane, 

" I ope this will find you as it leaves me — in the 
pink. We're moving soon. There's no news. Your loving 
sweetheart, x x x x." 

288 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

I believe the crosses were meant to represent kisses. 

I am glad to find the Free Church chaplains fully realise 
what sport means to the soldier. One of the Baptist chaplains 
says : " The men must have their cricket, football, and boxing 
even while guns are dealing out death and destruction all the 
time. The love for sport follows Tommy wherever he goes. 

" I attended a football match the other day played under 
first-class rules by first-rate players. 

" Two regiments were competing for the simple glory of the 
win, before an admiring and appreciative crowd of soldiers. I 
watched the game from between a couple of Uhlan lances that 
served as goal-posts and admired the dash and good humour of 
the contest from start to finish. The only good and convenient 
ground was against a heavy battery, which thundered out death 
to the Germans during the game and drew some rather startling 
replies from the enemy, but the game continued all the same ; 
it added spice to the sport. 

" I enjoyed the time thus spent with the men immensely, for 
it was a clean, healthy, and profitable piece of sport." 

The Padre who enters into the men's love of sport and 
games reaches their hearts by the shortest cut. 

I have heard many soldiers discussing the chaplain question. 
One man said, " I was five months in the thick of the fighting 
during the early part of the war with the old army, and I never 
set eyes on a parson once, either in the trenches or out of them, 
except when we had to attend church parades within a few 
hours of leaving the trenches, when we were aching for sleep and 
rest, but were told all uniform, brass buttons, etc., had to be 
cleaned for an early morning church parade. How we cursed 
it and the parson, who was the only one having a good time. 
He was fresh as paint, we were dog-tired." 

Another man said, " Oh, the chaplains ! The Base is 
crawling with them having a ' cushy time,' eating up all the 
good things and sending on to us what they don't like them- 
selves. They keep all the strawberry jam and send plum-and- 
apple on to us in the trenches ; that is considered good enough 
for us." 

A happier example was a man who said, " Our parson was 
the finest chap in the world ; any one of us would have died for 

Revs. E. L. Watson and T. Tattersall 289 

him. He was a man and practised what he preached ; he was 
a sportsman and played the game. We said if rehgion made 
men hke that we would be religious too. He had the heart of a 
lion, the arm of a pugilist, and the gentle smile and voice of a 

The first Free Church Military chaplain to be appointed was 
the Rev, E. L. Watson, a man who appealed to all with whom 
he came in contact. He was massively built, with the jaw of 
determination and iron will, and possessed of a fine voice. He 
could sing a song, preach a sermon, tell a good story, or carry 
on a soothing conversation by a sick man's bed. 

Being an Australian, his rough early life had made a man of 
him. He could turn his hand to anything — ride, shoot, fell 
trees, forage for his food and cook it. Australians are broad- 
minded, independent, and free from conventionality ; they also 
have a shrewd understanding of human nature. 

From being at one time a collier, Mr, Watson became a local 
preacher, and as so often happens while trying to convince other 
people, he became firmly convinced himself and entered the 
Victoria Baptist College. After completing a graduate's 
course he became the Pastor of a Melbourne church, in 
combination with which he worked as chaplain to the Common- 
wealth Forces. 

Coming to England, he became chaplain in connection with 
the Guards, and when war broke out volunteered for field-work, 
ready, like many another, to throw himself into any sort of work 
helpful to the soldiers. 

It has already been shown that preaching is by no means 
the chief part of a chaplain's business ; to be of any use he has 
to be a factotum. 

In Mr. Spurr's booklet, to which I have already referred, he 
gives some interesting stories of their chaplains' routine, and 
some touching stories of soldiers' sayings and doings. Soldiers 
are naturally optimistic and fond of music. Mr. Spurr remarks 
on this and on the amount of natural talent there is amongst 
the men. The chaplains help the men to get up evening 
sing-songs and entertainments in which Jews' harps, mouth- 
organs, nigger-minstrels, dancing and singing all take part. 
Mr. Spurr gives the following account of one of these cheery 
evenings : 


290 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

" In a borrowed piano left intact by the Germans we pos- 
sessed the very pivot of the ring. In the rush of talent to the 
programme one soldier volunteered to sing ' Annie Laurie.' 
' If the pianist would kindly give the note and then vamp I shall 
commence,' he announced. After receiving the note, with 
difficulty he commenced his solo. He certainly possessed a 
powerful voice, but oh ! his ear was never tuned to the song of 
angels, for he pitched his song, in spite of frantic efforts of the 
pianist, in such a key as to first put the piano out of action and 
then lose poor Annie Laurie. After a desperate effort at 
recovery, in which cold and hot sweat was teeming from his 
noble brow and tears of laughter from the eyes of the audience, 
he found himself wandering ' on the bonny, bonny banks of 
Loch Lomond,' with all the fellows joining in the closing bars 
of the popular song. 

" Thinking the applause was in appreciation, he insisted on 
giving a demonstration of his ability as a dancer in response. 
This unfortunately ended in disaster, for his dancing was so 
thunderous and energetic that the thin boards of the temporary 
platform gave way, affording a most undignified flourish of arms 
and legs prior to complete collapse. The whole scene was such 
a piece of unexpected comedy that apart from some really 
splendid items it was pronounced the gem of the evening." 

No doubt there are persons who regard all this kind of thing 
as quite outside the province of a chaplain, whose main business 
is to win men's souls to God ; but who shall say this is not one 
of the wisest ways of winning them ? I wish more people 
realised that God gave us this beautiful world and health to 
enjoy it, and that He loves us to be happy. Long faces and 
cant do not win souls. Surely many things that in times of 
peace seemed of supreme importance, now, in time of war, when 
so many are standing on the edge of the Great Beyond, appear 
very trivial. 

Soldiers want reality and brevity. The Rev. T. Tattersall, 
of the Free Church, understands this and understands soldiers 
and their worth. He says, " Their instincts are deeply rooted, 
and the foolish wayfaring man with a shibboleth on his lips 
might easily miss them. There is no parade of religion in the 
army. A soldier is a man of action, he has scant respect for 

Revs. E. L. Watson and T. Tattersall 291 

broad phylacteries. He looks for the proof of faith in moral 

Most, if not all men, have religion deeply rooted in their 
hearts, only they call it by the name of " honour." 

One soldier who on his way out from home had boasted that 
he believed in no religion, was seen by his companions, when 
some desperate fighting was taking place, the earth rocking and 
the skies seemed to be falling, to suddenly drop upon his knees 

" Hullo, old chief ! thought you didn't hold with prayer 
and such-like," said a pal. 

" No," came the reply, " but a fellow cannot be in a place 
like this without believing in a God or a devil, and as I cannot 
believe in a supreme devil I am driven to pray to a supreme 

Reasoning machines pale before the situations they have to 
face to-day, they have no logic ready at hand. How can a man 
without faith find words wherewith to comfort a poor mother 
to whom he has to return the letters from her dead son's pocket, 
soaked through and through with his life-blood ? How can 
moments like these be faced in cold reasoning ? Where would 
the men be without religion and faith, when day after day the 
pal of the morning with whom they cracked jokes becomes by 
evening a silent " It " ? 

To quote again from Mr. Spurr's little book. He tells a 
story with pride and affection of one of his Free Church boys. 
" The Welsh Regiment were handing over their trenches at 
Landmerke to the French at 3. .30 in the morning. A Black 
Maria from the Germans fell upon a platoon, killing twenty-one 
at once and wounding nineteen others, all of whom had lost a 
limb. The remaining nine men cleared after recovering from 
the shock, but one remained until dawn, creeping about amongst 
the wounded, though being shelled all the time. He was 
bandaging up the maimed as best he could, then made his way 
to the village, procured a horse and galloped off for the field 
ambulance and made his report to the Colonel, urging upon him 
the necessity of bringing back the wounded. The Colonel 
considered the firing much too dangerous, but could not resist 
Evans' entreaties, so still under heavy shell-fire the ambulance, 
guided by Evans, made its way to the desired spot and collected 

292 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

the poor men, who no doubt thought they had been left to die. 
The ambulance moved off, but Evans could not bear to leave 
the dead unburied, and begged for permission to remain. The 
Colonel told him he was mad, it was too late in the afternoon 
and the shelling was unceasing, and he had not been out of the 
deadliest danger since early morning." 

The recounter of this little story was a chaplain, and he says 
he does not know whether Evans' courage received recognition. 
" But this I know, such men — and their name is legion — are 
worthy of the highest honours. It was to minister to such men 
I came out. Was it not worth while ? I trudged back to camp 
with a song in my heart." 

The stretcher-bearers, who do such untiring and dangerous 
work, never seem to come in for any recognition, yet many I 
know have grown jumpy at times after ceaseless work amidst 
revolting and heartbreaking scenes, carrying the wounded over 
difficult ground, crossing and recrossing fire-swept centres, 
while their own insides were empty, their clothes heavy with 
mud and rain, their nerves all on the jump, and never a word of 

A relative of mine, writing in 1915 from the trenches in 
Flanders, tells me of a soldier commanding a company in the 
same trench as himself who before the war had been a Non- 
conformist minister, but the sporting spirit had been too strong 
in him, he felt he must be doing his bit actively. The letter is 
long and full of interest, so I will begin where he leaves the 
trenches after having been in occupation of one end while the 
Germans held the other, the time having been distinctly lively. 

" It is a great mercy to be in billets again for a bit of a rest. 
It is always interesting here behind the lines watching the 
ceaseless industry that goes to keep a great army in being. I 
cannot understand the foolish people who say that romance has 
gone out of modern war. They must be the same people who go 
to London for the first time and declare that the chief things to 
impress them were the dome of St. Paul's and policemen con- 
trolling traffic, utterly blind to the real point, which is, of course, 
that London is like the Garden of Eden, in which the animals are 
so tame that the birds of the air descend and feed from your 
hand and the shy waterfowl leave the lakes and waddle at your 

Revs. E. L. Watson and T. Tatter sail 293 

very feet. War is infinitely more romantic than it has ever 
been, now that it is a war of populations and not a mere affair 
of professional fighters. Now, your poet from Chelsea has 
thrown aside his pen and is at death-grapples with the waiters 
who once served his table at Soho ; the bank-manager of 
Lombard Street who used nearly to faint when a horse fell down 
is now sweating at the head of a bombing party, exulting in his 
power to kill. The great feats of chivalry and the knightly 
daring of legends are paling into nothing before the lives of these 
commonplace people. 

" Tliere is a perfect example of the sort of man I mean in 

the battalion called , a company commander now, and 

incongruously enough rather a special pal of mine, although his 
idea of bliss is to produce most miserable hymn tunes and dirges 
on a tin whistle every evening. He used to be a Nonconformist 
minister, but is now a tremendously keen soldier whom no 
horrors can sicken and no fatigue daunt. He is really one of 
those splendid fellows one can admire wholeheartedly. 

" His name appeared in the lists of those decorated for 
conspicuous bravery some time ago, and people think him rather 
a lucky dog, but I doubt if there are many men who suffer more 
in this war. Sometimes when things are slack he crawls into 
my dug-out and lets himself go. You can see all the mental 
agony this austere Nonconformist suffers. It is literally true to 
say that the sheer wickedness of it all makes him miserable and 
desperate. It is for him a holy war, and he is straining every 
nerve in the personal effort to win what he hopes may be 
universal peace for humanity. Meanwhile his life is far from a 
happy one. Even the questionable wit of camps is hateful to 
him. It was men like this that Cromwell had the wit to see 
would carry him anywhere — and they did. 

" I suppose the critic who says there is no romance left in 

war would see nothing in but a gaunt young man with a 

Lancashire accent who might easily be suspected of eating peas 
with his knife. To me it is the most perfect legend of chivalry 
being re-lived. 

" If my Nonconformist is not Sir Percival in quest of the 
Holy Grail, who is he ? The knight inspired, heedless of all but 
the pursuit of a flaming ideal ! 

" After all, Sir Percival probably ate peas with his sword ! " 

Chapter XXII 

The Rev, H. Hall with the 29th Division — A Memorial — Sir Ian Hamilton 
Unveils it — Starting a Rifle Club — Some Anonymous Letters — Wliat they 
Said — Colonel Carrington Smith — Confirmation Classes in War-time — Heroic 
Middies — A Fateful Sunday — Breakfast at 5.30 a.m. — A Cheery Party — 
What Happened to Them — A Commander Dies in Mr. Hall's Arms — A Grue- 
some Sight — Four Days' and Four Nights' Hard Work — Searching for the 
Brigade Major — Turkish Snipers Busy — Agility of Mr, Hall — The Rev. 
Mazzini Tron — With the Bush Brotherhood — At Suvla Bay — Wins D.S.O. 
and Bar — The Rev. W. R. F. Addison in Canadian Lumber-Camp — In 
Mesopotamia — Wins Victoria Cross — His Love of Nature — Addison Ancestors 
— What a Little Bird told the Author — A Chaplain's Recompense. 

THE REV. H. HALL, who has reigned at Holy Trinity 
Vicarage, Eltham, since 1907, when the Bishop of 
Southwark sent him to that quiet old-world village, was 
with the ever-to-be remembered 29th Division in Gallipoli, and 
he is proud that his church now holds the memorial to all those 
gallant men who fell during that heroic endeavour to do the 
impossible. It was unveiled by General Sir Ian Hamilton, 
on April 25, 1917. Each year a service is held in memory of 
those who fought and fell in Gallipoli, 1915-16. 

Mr. Hall is a devotee at the shrine of athleticism and sport. 
The first thing he did after becoming vicar of Holy Trinity was 
to astonish the dreamy inhabitants by such an unheard-of 
innovation as forming a rifle-club, and with the help of Sir John 
Stevens, Sir Harry North, the European manager of the 
Canadian -Pacific Railway, and other leading lights, it was 
soon an accomplished fact. 

By the wish of that keen soldier. Colonel H. B. Tasker, Mr. 
Hall became the Padre to the 2nd London R.F.A. (Territorial 
Forces), and learnt the delights of summer camps — when the 
floods are not out ! About this time he received a number of 
anonymous letters from those brave persons who love to write 
letters they are ashamed to sign with their names. The purport 
of these letters was to ask what he meant by marching about 
with troops and getting up rifle-clubs to teach men to shoot one 

Revs. Hall, Tron, D.S.O., and Addison, V.C. 295 

another, when he was supposed to be a man of peace ? The 
brilHant writers perhaps had not brains enough to grasp the 
fact that the way to keep peace is by being prepared for war, 
but probably these letter-writers have by now quite changed 
their views. 

Mr. Hall left England to join the troops as chaplain on board 
the Aragon, since torpedoed in the Mediterranean. Colonel 
Carrington Smith, commanding the 2nd Hants Regiment, was 
most sympathetic both to Mr. Hall and Mr. Hardy, the Wesleyan 
Padre on the Aragon, helping as much as possible to facilitate 
their work. Colonel Carrington Smith was killed on the bridge 
of the Clyde that desperate Sunday, April 25th. 

On arrival at Mudros Bay those on board the Aragon found 
the inner and outer harbours crowded with men-of-war, trans- 
ports, and other vessels. 

Mr. Hall tells me he found it difficult amidst the excitement 
attending a campaign to carry on his Confirmation classes. I 
should have thought it would have been quite impossible, 
mingled with rehearsals of landing and so forth, and I wonder he 
tried to keep them up at such a time, when the men could have 
so little leisure for quiet thought and preparation ; but no doubt 
he had good reasons for endeavouring to hold the classes. 

Various journeys had to be undertaken by Mr. Hall to and 
from the Implacable and Euryalus and from beach to beach. 
These he says he enjoyed on launches " under the care of that 
most entrancing of heroic souls, a young middy." As most of 
these journeys were undertaken amidst shrapnel salutations 
they must have been exciting. 

Then came that fateful Sunday, April 25th. Breakfast was 
at 5.30. Near Mr. Hall sat Brigadier-General Napier, Major 
T. D. Costeker, who had won his D.S.O. in France rn 1914, 
Colonel D. F. Cayley, and Colonel Carrington Smith. Out of 
the four three were killed before the sun was up and without 
having set foot on shore. Captain Walford, Brigade Major of 
the Royal Artillery, a warrior-student rich in promise, won his 
posthumous V.C. by his gallant leading of the decisive charge 
through the narrow ways of Sedd-el-Bahr ; and countless others, 
each more heroic, if possible, than the last. 

I have in a previous chapter described the terrific bombard- 
ment at that landing from the war-vessels of the Allies, which it 

296 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

was hoped would put a considerable number of the Turks out of 
action, but which proved to have been most abortive. Anyone 
looking on, thought Sedd-el-Bahr and its old fortresses must have 
been rendered innocuous, but before long all were undeceived, 
and for days to come were praying for howitzers and still more 
howitzers and guns of high trajectory. For an account of the 
magnificent part played by the troops in this action Sir Ian 
Hamilton's historic and classic despatch and Mr. Masefield's 
epic, provide brilliant and tragic details. 

Mr. Hall is full of admiration of the British army and navy.. 
He says, " For absolute pluck and self-forget fulness commend me 
to a British naval officer." The gallant commander who had 
been in charge of the landing operations was badly hit in the 
knee, but as he lay in the boat which brought him to the Aragon 
he was still full of fire and vim, and continued to give directions 
with that directness of energy, voice, and gesture that were very 
naval. The commander in charge of the submarine base at 
Malta had volunteered to help in the landing and was so badly 
wounded he died in Mr, Hall's arms. 

The Aragon was some little way from V. beach, yet little did 
they know of its many tragedies ; but through their glasses they 
could see what looked like a crowd of men resting as if for a 
first meal on shore. What looked like men resting were those 
who had lived through the deadly hail from machine-guns, 
rifles, and shrapnel ; they were sheltering under that providential 
forty-one inches of abrupt rise from sea-level, but unable to 
move one step in any direction, either right or left. Little did 
those on the Aragon then know of the thousands of Turks 
unscathed by the bombardment who from trench and crevice, 
castle and village, were pouring a murderous storm of lead upon 
the invaders. 

When the beach was reached Mr. Hall found a gruesome 
sight. The dead lay in heaps. The cliffs, festooned with wire, 
had dead soldiers hanging in its entanglements, many in places 
it was impossible to reach for some time. 

Three chaplains, named Hall, Hardy, and Foster, now set 
to work hard, burying the dead— as many as eighty-eight bodies 
in one grave. They worked unceasingly for the best part of 
four days and four nights. 

That Sunday evening, April 25th, while busy burying the 

The REV, H. A. HALL 

[Facing p. ■2.9(>. 


Fachig p. 237.] 

Revs. Hall, Tron, D.S.O., and Addison, V.C. 297 

dead, a message was brought to Mr. Hall that Major Costeker 
lay dead near the battered lighthouse hard by Sedd-el-Bahr. 
The three parsons climbed along the cliff-tops of Cape Helles, 
skirting an abandoned Turkish trench, until they came to the 
outpost of the 4th Worcesters, where they learned it was not 
their own Brigade Major whose body was supposed to be behind 
the lighthouse, but the body of the Brigade Major of the 86th 
Brigade ; but they found the body, with face as peaceful as if 
the brave man had only fallen asleep. The chaplains wished to 
stay and bury him, but it was pointed out all were utterly 
exhausted after a long day of fighting, so the burial had to be 
postponed until the morning ; then when Mr. Hall was peace- 
fully carrying out his work, having little idea the Turks were so 
near, he was made cognisant of the fact by a sniper having a 
couple of shots at him. Mr. Hall says if only he had possessed 
a stop-watch at the time, he is sure he could prove that his 
immediate leap into the afore-mentioned trench and his quick 
departure were done in record time. But before he got back to 
the beach the Turks had commenced that fierce counter-attack 
which for a time threatened to drive all the British into the sea. 

Mr. Hall described that day as one never to be forgotten by 
any who were present — the flares, rockets, thundering of the 
mighty guns of our ships, incessant crackling of rifle-fire, all very 
wonderful, and withal startlingly beautiful. All hands were 
pressed into the defence, either to handle a rifle or carry am- 
munition to the firing-line. At this time Mr. Reid, the Presby- 
terian chaplain of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, won the 
Military Cross and was mentioned in despatches for his zeal and 

It was Mr. Hall's first experience of war, and he found no 
comfort in the thought, as the bullets whistled by, that there is 
no danger from those that can be heard, for there was the 
certainty of more to follow. 

The Eltham vicar says he believes " three causes prevented 
them all being driven into the sea that night — the steadiness of 
the British infantry, such as the 1st Essex and 4th Worcesters ; 
inter alia the help of our war-vessels ; last and indeed not the 
least, but the ultimately decisive cause, was, I believed thea 
and I believe now, the direct veto of God Himself." 

Mr. Hall is full of stories of interest and deeds of heroism during 

298 sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 

that ghastly failure when thousands died nobly — for what ? 
Nothing. But as he hopes to write a book of his own experiences 
I must not trespass. He says he is " proud to have served 
under Sir Ian Hamilton, a man of such charm and military 
distinction," and remarks on the affection England has for 
sending a handful of men to do the work of thousands. 

I wonder, when the history of this war is written, how much 
of the truth will ever be allowed to appear in print. I could tell 
some surprising stories, but the Press Bureau would sit upon me, 
so had better not ; and after all, what can be expected or a 
civilian-controlled army ? Readers of history will know what 
to expect. 

The chaplains' note-books would be full of interest, but they 
contain many things that must ever remain secret between 
themselves, God^ — and the dead. 

Methinks the spirit-world is filling very fast, and during 
these days of tension and battle it seems almost as if we can hear 
the rustle of the spirits as they pass to their new homes ; our 
nerves get strained — or shall I say attuned ? — with constant 
watching, longing, and praying. 

When I look back over the past few years and remember all 
the Generals I have known, who after having spent the best of 
their lives serving their country and having achieved fame, have 
been flung from their pedestals, often through no fault of their 
own, I marvel that any man is to be found with big enough 
heart to undertake such responsible and thankless tasks. If in 
the morning he achieves a success he is a brilliant strategist, a 
genius and brave man. In the evening may come a reverse, 
and he is a blundering idiot and no earthly use ; but he must 
behave like a properly disciphned soldier and carry with a smile 
the burden of other people's mistakes and say nothing ! Such 
is life ! 

I must hurry on and bring my book to an end, though there 
are a number more parsons I should like to write about, quite 
a number who are alive to-day who have done gallant deeds ; 
but they do not like to be written about, it makes them shy. 
We must wait until the war is over before anything like a full list 
can be compiled, but there are just two more about whom I must 
speak for a few moments. 

The Rev. Mazzini Tron, born of working folk in the north. 

Revs. Hall, Tron, D.S.O., and Addison, V.C. 299 

As a boy he was a member of the Church Lads' Brigade ; his 
vicar became interested in him, and sent him to a theological 
college. He subsequently worked with the Bush Brotherhood. 
At the outbreak of war he joined an Australian Unit of the 
R.A.M.C. and was at Suvla Bay, where he was the sole survivor 
of his patrol. For his resource and bravery he received the 
Military Cross and was transferred to the chaplains' department. 
He further distinguished himself in France, taking charge of a 
dressing-station when the doctor was killed. I would like to 
tell you much more of wonderful things he did, but he does not 
wish it. Anyway, he got a second bar to his medal, and the 
D.S.O. All honour to him. 

As I began my book with a V.C. parson perhaps I cannot do 
better than finish with one, though here again I must say very 
little, as the hero is alive and very shy, and begs me not to say 
much. The Rev. William Robert Fountain e Addison was the 
second army chaplain to be honoured during the war. Four 
others on whom the Victoria Cross was conferred at this time 
lost their lives in winning it. 

Mrs. Addison feared her son had not had education enough 
and had not the physical strength or ability to succeed in 
England, so arranged for him to become a colonist, and to Canada 
he went, and appears to have had a very dull and lonely life 
there on a farm, but gained considerable experience in riding 
and breaking horses. In the lumber camps he shared the life 
of the lumber-jacks — tree-felling, etc., but, like many other 
Canadians, he is unwilling to recall memories of that time. 

Mr. Addison's uncle, knowing this life was uncongenial to 
his nephew, assisted and persuaded him to return to England. 
After his return, in a letter to his uncle, he says, " Looking 
back upon my life in Canada it is like a ghastly, vivid nightmare. 
You alone have rescued me from a dark, dreary, and slaving 
life. . . ." 

During Mr. Addison's lumber-camp experiences he learned 
to deal with many types of men, and this has no doubt been a 
help to him in later years. 

After his return from Canada he went to Salisbury Theo- 
logical College, and was ordained in 1913 ; after which he became 
curate at St. Edmunds, Salisbury, and worked there until he 
obtained an army chaplaincy. 

300 Sportsmen Parsons in Peace and War 


All his services have been in the east ; he has not been in 
Flanders or the western front up to the time of writing. 

He sailed from Suez to Basra on board the Kalyan with the 
late General Sir Stanley Maude, and it was in Mesopotamia 
that he won his V.C., " for conspicuous bravery in carrying a 
number of wounded men and bandaging their wounds while 
under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire." In addition to this, 
his splendid example of utter disregard for personal danger 
encouraged the stretcher-bearers to go forward under heavy 
fire and collect the wounded. What is not generally known is 
that for a whole day he carried wounded men and dressed their 

Writing home at this time he says : 

" I do thank God that He allowed me to accomplish what I 
set out to do, and also that I have received the V.C., as that 
seems to have caused you and others much joy." 

This letter was dated November 3, 1916, from Mesopotamia. 
Mr. Addison also took part in the withdrawal from Gallipoli. 

At present his ambition is to achieve something in sermon- 
writing. I think, like many others who have been through 
terrible scenes and experiences, he wants a long rest. 

One of the pleasures of his life lies in ornithology, and when 
in Mesopotamia he spent most of his spare time studying the 
ways of the birds and beasts he found there ; he sent several 
interesting letters and articles to the Times and Field, which 
were published. 

For four successive generations the eldest sons in the 
Addison family have been clergymen, and the present W. R. F. 
Addison makes the fifth. His father was an artist whose works 
were exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute, and 
other exhibitions. The grandfather Addison was a great 
worker amongst the poor, both in Reading, where he was vicar 
of Christ Church, and at Gibraltar, where he was head of the 
English Cathedral. When on the " Rock," after three heavy 
services in the Cathedral he managed to fit in a service for the 
sailors on ships at anchor in the Bay ; even when storms were 
raging and the notice-board said, " Double danger, double 
fare," he went out in a small rowing-boat and held a service on 
a hulk anchored in the centre of the shipping, in the true 
sporting spirit. 

Revs. Hall, Tron, D.S.O., and Addison, V.G. 301 

It is not therefore difficult to see where the V.C. Addison's 
courage and endurance came from. 

A httle bird has told me that when Mr. Addison won his 
Victoria Cross he was really disobeying orders, as he had been 
forbidden to expose himself to so much danger, and when a 
certain General heard he had again " gone over the top " he 
used some strong language and declared he would have him 
court-martialled ; instead of this, however, at the end of the 
day he was publicly thanked by two Generals for what he had 

Mr. Addison returned to England in 1917, and in July of 
that year was married and received his Cross from the King 
at Buckingham Palace on August 8, 1917. His regiment, 
the King's Own Royal Lancashire, gave him a handsome 
wedding-present in the form of a silver salver, as well as a sub- 
stantial cheque from the Brigade. We all know how precious 
and valued are these tokens of friendship and appreciation. 

And of the chaplains themselves, what do they feel after 
sharing the hardships and stress of battle with the soldiers ? 
They are, I know, deeply grateful and uplifted when they see 
any return for their services. The following little story shows 
how occasionally the Padres find crumbs of comfort and en- 
couragement when, having cast their bread upon the waters, 
some of it returns after many days. 

Just before a big push a chaplain was addressing his men 
and administering the Holy Communion, and in his address he 
quoted the text, " Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." 

During the battle that followed, when this Padre was helping 
the walking wounded out, in the dark, one lad badly hit in 
the mouth, which was full of blood, put his face close to the 
Padre's and, spluttering blood all over it, pressed close up and 
with difficult speech said, " Though He slay me, yet will I trust 
in Him.'' 


Aberdour, Lord, see Morton 
Acklam Hall, 14, 16 et seq., 22, 25 
Adams, V.C., Rev. J. W., 3-12 
Adams, Mrs. J. W., 11 
Adderley, C.F., Rev. C. A., 228 
Addison, V.C, Rev. William R. F,, 

Addison, Mrs., 299 
Agland, Jim, 124 

Ailesbury, Maria, Marchioness of, 68 
Aldridge, Rev. E. A., 137-43 
Alexandra, Queen, 45, 65, 68 
Alfonso, King of Spain, 255 
Alverstone, Richard Webster, Lord, 64 
Arch, M.P., Joseph, 161-2 
Argyll, George Campbell, eighth Duke 

of, 65 
Arkwright, Robert, 65, 68 
Arnold, of Rugby, Dr., 70 
Ashby Launde (Lines.), 57 
Augusta, Empress of William I. of 

Germany, 52-3 

Baker, Valentine, 66 
Balfour, Right Hon. A. J., 65 
Baly, Archdeacon, 67 
Barrymore, Lord, 28-9 
Barton, Sir Andrew, 18 
Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl 

of, 65 
Bearsted (Kent), 213 et seq., 230 
Beaufort, Henry Somerset, 8th 

Duke of, 65 
Beckenham, St. Paul's Church, 232, 

233, 235 
Bedford, Francis Russell, 9th Duke of, 

Bedford, Duchess of, 66-7 
Bentinck, Lord Henry, 61 
Benton, Thomas Mansford, 201 
Benton, Capt. the Rev. William 

Richard, 201-31 
Benton, Mrs. W. R., 211, 227 
Benzon, Mr. (Jubilee Plunger), 68 
Beresford, D.S.O., Lieut.-Col. the 

Rev. Percy William, 242-7 

Beresford, Lord William, 88, 268 

Beresford, Judge William, 242 

Beresford, Miss, 24-6 

Bergen, Father, 269-70 

Black Torrington (Devon), 36, 47-8 

Booth, General, 268-9 

Booth, Mrs., 268-9 

Booth, Miss, 259, 266, 269 

Boswell, James, 105 

Bourne, Cardinal, 258 

Boynton (Yorks), 30 

Bradley, Father, 281 

Brassey, M.F.H., Albert, 160 

Brindle, D.S.O., Right Rev. Father, 

Bishop of Nottingham, 248-58 
Bristol riots, 82 

Broke, Lord Willoughby de, 28, 31 
Bromhead, Lieutenant, 113 
Bronte, Charlotte, 51 
Brook, Dr. W. H., 60-1 
Brook, C, 60-1 
Brown, Corporal Gore, 176 
Bullecourt, Battle of, 24, 45 
Burdon, Rev. John, 23 
Burgoyne, Sir John, 71 
Burnaby, General, 66 
Burnaby, Rev. Evelyn, 62-74 
Burnaby, Colonel Fred., 62-3, 69 
Burnaby, Rev. Gustavus, 62, 71 
Burnaby, Mrs. Gustavus, 67, 71 
Burnaby, Hon. Mrs. Margaret, 73 
Burnaby, Mrs. Winifred, 73 
Bury, Dr., Bishop of North and 

Central Europe, 198 
Butler, Armar, 127 
Butler, Henry, 127 
Butler, Hubert, 127 
Butler, James, 127 
Butler, Rev. Pierce, 127-32 
Butler, Ralph, 127 
Butler, Rollo Pierce, 127 
Butler, Rev. William (Billy), 122, 

Byars, Sidney, 197 


Cadogan, George, 3rd Earl of, 77 

Cambridge: Magdalene College, 28, 77; 

Steeplechase match between Oxford 

and, 28-9; Trinity Beagles, 34; 

Boxing at, 39; St. John's College, 




51; Emmanuel College, 115; Trinity 
College, 138; Jesus College, 147; 
Caius College, 237, 239 

Campbell, Lord Colin, 5 

Candy, Mr., 28 

Carlyle, Thomas, 77 

Carter, Will, 31 

Casualty clearing station, 177 et seq. 

Caunton Manor (Newark), 101 

Cayley, Colonel D. F., 295 

Chard, Rev. E., 112^18^ 

Chard, Colonel John, 112 et seq., 117-8 

Chard, William Wheaton, 112 

Chard, Colonel Wheaton, 112 

Charles I., 20 

Charles II., 94 

Chelmsford, Lord, 198-9 

Christian, Princess, 173 

Church Lads Brigade, 233 

Churchill, Lord Randolph, 65 

Cope, Sir John, 79 

Costeker, D.S.O., Major T. D., 295, 

Costobadie, Captain F. Palisser, 51 

Costobadie, Rev. Henry Palmer, 56 

Costobadie, Rev. Hugh Palisser, 49, 56 

Cotleigh (Devon), 123 

Cottesbroke (Northants), 31 

Cotton, General Sir Sydney, 164 

Crake, Winifred, see Bumaby 

Crawley, Rev. A. S., 90 

Crimean War, 5 

Crouch End, Christ Church, 237 et seq. 

Curres, Mr. Teddy, 23 

Curzon of Kedleston, Lord, 11 


Dark, Lieut., 270 

Dardanelles, 273 et seq., 294 et seq. 

Darwin, Charles, 81 

Davenport, Bromley, 163 

Davenport, de G., 55 

Davenport, Rev. J. R., 55 

Day, Father, 282 

Dickens, Charles, 164 

Dogs, pedigree, " Harper," 31, 

"Trump," 39, 40, "Joe," 72, 

" Susie," 72, " Tartan King," 72, 

" Vanguard," 160 
Dorrien-Smith, Mr., 68 
Downe, Viscount, 95-6, 98 
Doyle, Conan, 167 
Dublin Horse Show, 31-2 
Dunmore, Alexander Murray, 8th 

Earl of, 224 


Eames, Mr., 123 
Edridge, Private F., 196-7 

Edward VII., 40, 45, 65, 68, 71-2, 83-4 
Ellicot, Dr., Bishop of Gloucester, 21 
Eltham (Kent), 294 
Ena of Battenberg, Princess, see 

Engleheart, Sir Thomas, 207 
Engleheart, Father, 204, 207-8, 211 
English Bickner (Glos.), 23-4 
English Church Union, 87 
Erie, Chief Justice, 63 
Erskine, Hon. Margaret, see Bumaby 
Etaples Hospital, work at, 170 et seq. 
Eugenie, Empress, 71 
Eversley (Hants), 79, 82 et seq. 
Exeter, William Cecil, 3rd Marquis of, 



Fairfax, Colonel, 21 

Farrar, Canon, 71 

Fellows, Harry, 44 

Fernie, Mr., 49 

Festubert, Battle of, 233, 235, 244 

Field Ambulance, 182-3 

Finn, Austen, 277' 

Finn, Father, 273, 279 

Fitzgerald, Father, 203, 205 et seq. 

Fitzwilham, Hon. H., 28 

Foster, Rev. Mr., 296 

Forester, M.F.H., Captain, 88 

Fowke, Sir Frederick, 70 

Fowler, Warde, 165 

Foxhound Kennel Stud Book, 32 

Framlingham College, 201 

Frampton (Dorset), 134, 136 

Franckhn, M.F.H., Mr., 104 

Francklin, Caroline, see Hole 

Frederick, Emperor and Empress, 53 

French, Lord, 173, 248 

Frittenden (Kent), 168, 200 

Frome (Somerset), 65 

Froude, Rev. John, 39, 118-22 

Geddes, Gordon, 180-1 

George IV., 63, 134-5 

George V., 277, 301 

Gibbs, Philip, his description of the 

King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 

action, 186 et seq. 
Gilchrist, W. O., 199 
Givenchy, Battle of, 244 
Gloucester, Bishop of, see Ellicot 
Gooderham, Rev. I. J. R., 237-42 
Gordon, General, 248, 251-2 
Green, M.C., Captain, Chaplain, 260 
Green, Father Eric, 281 
Green, Rev. George Clark, 148-9 
Green, Henry, 54 



Grenfell, Fanny, see Kingsley 
Gribbin, Rev. A., 283-4 
Grissell, Captain, 28-9 
Gull, Sir William, 83 
Gwynn, Father, 280 


Hall, Mr., 61 

Hall, Miss, see Legard 

Hall, Rev. H., 294-98 

Hall, James, 30 

Hall, Rev. Richard, 281 

Hallerton, 49 et seq. 

Hamilton, William, 12th Duke of, 28 

Hamilton, General Sir Ian, 273, 279, 
294, 298 

Hankey, Donald, 240 

Hannington (Hants), 140 et seq. 

Hardy, Rev. Mr., 296 

Hardy, Colonel Gathorne, 191 

Harker, Rev. T. A., 276 

Harrington, Seymour, 6th Earl of, 28 

Harrison, Colonel, 170, 176 

Hart, Sir Robert, 138 

Harcourt, Sir William, 14 

Harrow, 14 

Hatch, Beauchamp (Somerset), 114 et 

Hawley, Captain, 14 

Hawley, Louisa, see Hustler 

Heald, Ivan, 5 

Helmesley (Yorks.), 199, 200 

Hill, Richard, 14 

Hohenzollern Redoubt, 244 

Hole, Dean, 69, 70, 100-11, 142 

Hole, Mrs., 104 

Holne (Dartmoor), 75 

Honey, Rev. Doctor Wyer, 146 

Honey, M.H., Rev. R. Wyer, 146-57 

Honey, William, 147 

Horses (racers and hunters) : "Agility," 
61 ; " Apology," 57 et seq. ; " Ar- 
texerxes," 1.32 ; " Bessy Bedlam," 
57 ; " Blair Atholl," 59 ; " Blan- 
chefleur," 58 ; " BUnk Bonny," 
150 ; " BriHiant," 57 ; " Colleen 
Bawn," 28 ; " Cyclop," 131 ; 
" George Frederick," 57-8 ; " Her- 
mitage," 28 ; " Holy Friar," 61 ; 
" Idolatry," 57 ; " Incense," 57 ; 
" Kate," 28 ; " La Coureuse," 58 ; 
" Lady Patricia," 59 ; " Leolinus," 
59 ; " Lord CHfden," 58 ; " Loyal- 
ty," 28 ; " Manganese," 61 ; 
" Marchioness," 28 ; " Minor," 59 ; 
" Miss Toto," 59 ; " Moonbeam," 
57 ; " Pantaloon," 28 ; " Proposi- 
tion," 28 ; " The Good Lady," 28 ; 
" Trent," 59 ; " Saltfish," 86 ; 

" Silver Tail," 150 ; " Wenloek," 
21 ; " Wood-pigeon," 86 

Horsewell, 87 

Hospitals at the Front, 173 et seq., 182 
et seq., 215 et seq. 

Hounds and Harriers : Bicester and 
Heythrop, 107 ; Billesdon Hunt, 51, 
55 ; Blackmore Vale, 64 ; Bram- 
ham Moor, 14 ; Cottesmore, 64 ; 
Cotleigh and East Devon, 123 ; 
Craven, 88, 107, 109, 130 ; Devon and 
Somerset Hounds, 45, 64, 104 ; 
Garth, 79, 84 ; Heythrop, 159 et 
seq.; Holderness, 31, 115, 137; 
Lord Middleton's, 34, 143 ; Lord 
Portman's, 64 ; Marland Harriers, 
146 et seq. ; New Forest, 64 ; North 
Bucks Harriers, 34 ; Oakley, 64-5, 
68 ; Pytchley, 31, 115, 137 ; Quorn, 
49, 55, 64, 66 ; Ross Harriers, 23 ; 
Rufford, 103 ; South Dorset, 64 ; 
Southwold Foxhounds, 147 ; Ted- 
worth, 64 ; Trinity Beagles, 34 ; 
Warnham Staghounds, 131 ; 

Sir Watkin Wynne's, 64 ; York and 
Ainsty, 14, 34, 85 et seq. 

Howard, Sir Edward, 18 

Hughes, Thomas, 79, 80, 82 

Hunting, see Hounds 

Hustler, M.F.H., Rev. George, 13-26 

Hustler, Mrs. George, 14, 16, 24 

Hustler, Thomas, 14 

Hustler, William, 20 

Inglis, K.C.B., Major-General Sir 

John, 168 
Inglis, Lady, 198 
Inglis, Rev. Rupert, 167-200 
Inglis, Mrs. Rupert, 168 et seq. 
Ingram, Dr., 193-4 


Jackson, Dr., Bishop of London, 8 

James I., 18 

James IV., 18 

Jellicoe, Admiral Sir John, 268 

Johnson, Dr., 105 

Johnson, Colonel, 185 

Jones, V.C, Colonel Alfred, 84 


Keen, Sergeant Harold, 246 
Kelly, C.F., Rev. J. Dwyer, 197 
Key, Captain, 86, 97, 99 
King, Colonel, 57 
King, Rev. J. W., 57-61 
King's College, 77 
King's Norton (Wore), 5 
Kingham (Oxford), 158 etseq. 




Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 75-84, 100, 110 
Kingsley, Mrs. Charles, 76, 78, 83-4 
Kingsley, Mrs. (mother of Charles 

Kingsley), 78 
Kirkby Sigston, 87 
Kitchener, Lord, 248, 250 et seq., 273, 

Knowstone (Devon), 118 

Lacy, Dr., Bishop of Middlesborough, 

Lang, Dr., Archbishop of York, 92 ei 

Langdale, Colonel, 278 
Langham, M.F.H., Sir H., 31 
Lascelles of Harewood, Lord, 93-G, 98 
Lawrence, Sir Henrv, 198 
Leech, John, 104, 107 
Legard, Sir Algernon, 27 
Legard, Rev. Cecil, 27-32, 57 
Legard, Mrs. Cecil, 36 
Legard, Sir Charles, 29 
Legard, Henry, 27-8 
Legard, Sir John, 27 
Legard, Sir Thomas Digby, 27 
Legge, Right Rev. and Hon. Augustus, 

Bishop of Lichfield, 208 
Le Mesurier, Mrs., 247 
Lichfield, Bishop of, see Legge 
Lincoln, Bishop of, see Wordsworth 
Line ham, Father John, 282 
Lloyd, Edward, 86, 96 et seq. 
Lloyd, Dr., Bishop of Newcastle, 87 
Lockwood, Rev. Da\ns, 156-66 
Lockwood, Mrs, Davis, 159, 165 
Lockwood, Captain H., 163 
London, Bishop of, see Jackson 
Long, Will, 39 
Loos, 145, 262 
Luard, Colonel, 189 
Lushington, Rev. T. G., 230 


McCalman, Rev. Mr., 236 

Machell, Captain, 29 

Mackenzie, M.C., Captain, 260-63 

Macmillari' s Magazine, 81 

McMullen, Father, 282 

Magee, Dr., Bishop of Peterborough, 07 

Magnay, Major, 227 et seq., 231 

Major, Mr., 239 

Manchester, Duchess of, 68 

Manners, Lord, 103-4 

Manning, Cardinal, 1 10 

Marryat, Captain, 164 

Martin, John, 152 

Mary, Queen, 277 

Ma'^.cfield, John, 273 

Maude, Dr., 245-6 

Maude, General Sir Stanley, 300 

Maxwell, General, 224 

Medals, Father Brindle's, 253 

Mellor, Lieut., 195 

Melville, ^'VTiyte, 75 

Meynell, M.F.H., Hugo, 30 

Meysey-Thompson, Richard, 86 

Michell, Rev. Jack, 122-6 

Michell, Rev. William, 123 

Middleton, Lord, 143 

Mill, John Stuart, 81 

Milne, M.F.H., Rev. E. A., 33-4 

Milner-VMiite, Rev. Eric, 236 

Minto, William, 3rd Earl of, 28-9 

" Mission of Help," 203 et seq. 

Moir, Captain, 194 

Molyneux, R.N., Capt., 86, 96-9 

Molyneux, Hon. Henry, 97, 99 

Mons, the retreat from, 280 

Moor Monckton (Yorks.), 91 et seq. 

Moore, Rev. Canon A. E., 147 

Morris, Rev. L. B., 34-5 

Morris, Mrs. L. B., 35 

Morton, John, 20th Earl of (Lord 

Aberdour), 28 
Mount St. Stephens College (Sheffield), 

Murray, Colonel, 196 
Mussenden, Major, 86, 96, 98 


Napier, Brigadier-General, 295 
National Rose Show, 108 
Neuve Chapelle, Battle of, 244 
Newby Ferry, 21 
Newcastle, Bishop of, see Lloyd 
Newman, Cardinal, 81-2, 110 
Newsham Hall (Darlington), 20 
Nicholson, General L., 197 
North, Sir Harry, 294 


Oliver, George, 148 

Omdurman, Battle of, 251 

Orvis, William, 86, 97, 99 

Osborne, John, 57 

Oxford : University College, 14 ; 
Steeplechase match between Cam- 
bridge and, 28-9; Exeter College, 
39 ; St. Edmund College, 87 ; 
Wadham College, 135 ; St. Mary's 
Hall, 164 ; Bishop of, see Wilber- 
force ; Magdalen College, 242 


Palmer, James, 21 
Palraerston, Lord, 5 
Parker, Jack, 88 
Paxton, Sir John, 108 



Peel, Viscount, 232, 234 

Peel, M.C., Rev. and Hon. Maurice, 

Peel, Sir Robert, 51, 235 
Pepys, Samuel, 105 
Peter's Marland (Devon), 151 
Phillips, Captain Colwyn, 242 
Phillpotts, Dr., Bishop of Exeter, 37, 

45, 118 et scq. 
Phipps, Sir Charles, 65 
Phipps, Lady, 65 
Pilcher, General, 128, 223 
Pilgrim, Purbeck, see Butler, Rev. 

Plumer, Major-General Sir H., 184 
Poelcapelle, Battle of, 244 
Pollock, Baron, 63 
Poltimore, Augustus Bampfylde, 2nd 

Lord, 4G 
Portal, Lady, 143 
Portland, VVilliam Cavendish -Ben - 

tinck, 6th Duke of, 256-7 
Poulett, Lord, 73 
Preston, Mr. Tom, 15 
Prideaux, Sir Edmund, 123 


Redmond, M.P., John, 279 
Reid, M.C., Rev. Mr., 297 
Reynard, Charles, 87 
Reynard, Susan, see Slings by 
Richards, Dr., 38-9 
Ridgeway, Sir West, 268 
Ridgeway, Lady, 268 
Ripon, Frederick, 2nd Marquis of, 35 
Ripon Theological College, 237 
. Robben Island (the lepers' settlement), 

202 et seq., 211 et seq., 230 
Roberts, Frederick, Earl, 4, 11 
Robinson, James, 86, 95-6, 98 
Roebuck, Admiral de, 277 
Rogers, Sergeant, 195 
Rorke's Drift, 113-4, 117 
Rossel School, 242 
Russell, V.C., Colonel Sir Charles, 84 
Russell, M.F.H., M.O.H., Rev. Jack, 

22, 36-48, 56, 75, 118, 122, 134 
Russell, Mrs. Jack, 41, 43, 47-8 

St, Alban's (Holborn), 87 

St. Cuthbert's College (Ushaw), 278 

St. David, John Phillips, 1st Lord, 

Salisbury Theological College, 299 
Salvation Army, its work in France, 

Sampson, Rev. G. V., 232 
Scarborough, Richard Lumley, 9th 

Earl of, 104 

Scott, Colonel Lord Henry, 196 

Scott, Sir Walter, 164 ;- 

Scriven Park (Yorks.), 85 et seq. 

Shakespeare, Rev. J. H., 285 et seq. 

Sharp, Rev. C. J., 239 

Sladnor Park (Devon), 20 

Shngsby, M.F.H., Sir Charles, 85-6, 

96 et seq. 
SHngsby, Rev. Charles, 21, 85-99 
Shngsby, Mrs. Charles, 87 
Shngsby, Mrs. Emma Louisa, 86 
Slingsby, Sir Henry, 94-5 
Shngsby, Sir William, 94 
Smith, Colonel Carrington, 295 
Somerby Hall (Leicester), 62 
Somme, Battle of the, 145, 167, 169, 

192, 201, 264, 269 
Soudan Campaign, 248 et seq. 
South Molton (Devon), 40-1 
Spurr, Frederick, 287, 289, 291 
Stevens, Sir John, 294 
Stevens, Colonel Moore, 151 
Stevens, Mr. W. G., 252 
Stillingfleet, 14 et seq., 23 
Stretton (stretcher-bearer), 195 
Sturminster Newton (Dorset), 135 
Suckhng, Rev. A., 87 
Surrey, Thomas Howard, Earl of, 18-9 
Surtees, Brigadier-General, 128 
Sutton, M.F.H., Sir Richard, 130 
Swansea, Ernest Vivian, Lord, 65 
Swymbridge, 43-4, 46 
Sykes, Sir Tatton, 1, 31, 42 

Talbot, Dr., Bishop of Winchester, 

Talbot, Gilbert, 174 
Talbot, M.C., Rev. Neville, 174, 194 

et seq. 
Tamworth, 235 
Tasker, Colonel H. B., 294 
Tattersall, Rev. T., 290 
Temple, Dr. William, Bishop of 

London, 133 
Templer, Mr., 41-2 
Tenniel, Sir John, 107 
Thackeray, W. M., 107 
Thesiger, Eric, 181 

Thesiger, Hon. Julia Sehna, see Inglis 
Thomson, Dr., Archbishop of York, 

21, 33 
Townshend, Father, 282 
Tron, M.C., D.S.O., Rev. Mazzini, 

Tullock, D.S.O., Major, 221-4 


Vaughan, Cardinal, 253 
Veitch, Mr., 108-9 

3o8 Index 

Victoria, Queen, 5, 83, 117, 252-3 
Victoria, Queen of Spain, 254 
Victoria Baptist College, 289 
Villebois, Henry, 45, 62, 72 
Villebois, Truman, 72-3 
Vivian, Lord, 73 
Vyner, Captain Bob, 95 
Vyner, Clare, 86-7, 95, 97, 99 
Vyner, Lady Mary, 97, 99 


Walford, V.C, Captain, 295 
Walsall (Staffs.), 208 et seq. 
Warren, Sir Herbert, 242 
Warriner, Christopher and James, 86, 

97 99 
Watts, G. F., 81 
Watson, Rev. E. L., 289 
Weald Manor (Oxon), 22 
Welhngton, Arthur Wellesley, Duke 

of, 104, 235 
Wenlock, Sir Beilby Richard Lawley, 

2nd Lord, 21 
Wensley (Yorks.), 51 
Westerham Cadet Corps (Kent), 243 

et seq. 
Western, General Sir Hunter, 279 
Westminster Abbey, 83-4 

Whitaker, Marmaduke, 35 

Whitaker, Miss, see Morris 

Wliite, Mr., 86 

Wilberforce, Dr., Bishop of Oxford, 

William I. of Germany, 52 

William IV., 101 

Willshire, Sir Arthur, 11 

Willart, Father, 284 

Wilson, Sir Mathew, 14, 21 

Wolseley, Viscount, 248-9 

Wombwell, Sir George, 21, 86-7, 96 et 

Wombwell, Lady Juha, 21 

Wood, V.C, Sir Evelyn, 84, 248 et seq., 

Woodhouse, General, 224 

Wordsworth, Dr. Christopher, Bishop 
of Lincoln, 59, 60 

Wrentmore, Ida, see Benton 

Wright, Colonel Bingham, 14 

Wyld, Mr., 52 

Wynter, Sophia Theresa, see Lock- 

Yorks, hunting in, 13 et seq. 
Ypres, Battle of, 244, 269 

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